Re: The Grey Hair

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Posted by Champ on January 20, 1999 at 10:16:38:

In Reply to: Re: The Grey Hair posted by Victoria on January 20, 1999 at 08:14:17:

: Howdy,

: I'm real glad this discussion has proved interesting.

: I can't see the older Munro as a Ranger, due to his conventional military training, and lack of familiarity with the N.A. terrain. Also, as near as I can recollect, all the officers in the Indian Dept., northern and southern, F & I War and Rev. War, had lived for many years in the colonies, and most had close personal ties to the Indians through marriage. This includes Johnson, Croghan, McKee, Morgan, Gist, Gists's successor (can't remember his name but he was in charge of the Tsalagi so maybe you can refresh my memory), Claus, the Butler's, etc.

O'siyo Victoria,

according to sources I have on Roger's Rangers [Tim Todish, George Bray, etc] it was not uncommon for some new officers to N.A. to go on a raiding mission with the Rangers as a form getting to know the lay of the land.
Again, the scenerio I earlier suggested that Munro led a small force of Regulars, augmented by Rangers & Indians [who would've been either induced to join probably by the Rangers or someone from the Indian Dept., or could have been the Mohawk Ranger Scouts known as "Stockbridges"] is a likely scenerio.
The fact of the matter is, this movie, as great as it is, played fast & loose with the historical facts & was not intended as a history lesson, but as entertainment.
If I want history I'll watch the "Frontiers" series...

Southern Cherokee Nation
[NW District]

Incedently, not all members of the Indian Dept. were "locals" or had ties thru marriage to the Native Allies, [see below], though this example is Rev' War, it bears repeating here.
This was taken directly from the [recreated] Indian Dept. website, a group of living historians, most of whom are indeed 20th century proffesional historians:

The role of the Native American warrior is a complex one during the period 1775-1783. The Natives of the northern Woodland cultures had advanced military and diplomatic structures fully in tune with their cultural needs and their local geography. All contestants for empire during the 18th century looked to them as potential allies and feared them as enemies.

The first Nations were badly split by the conflict of the American Revolution. Most eastern tribes, (Six Nations, Shawnee, Delaware just to name a few), at least initially, tried desperately to remain neutral in the face of threats, bribes and blatant provocations. The Iroquois Confederacy started the war neutral and ended it driven from their ancestral lands, bitterly attacked by the Continental Congress and largely betrayed by the British, yet paradoxically victorious in the field.

The former French allies known as the Seven Nations of Canada, the remnants of the Huron, the Ojibwa, and the Abeneki, as well as the Catholic Mohawks of Caughnawaga, were placed in the British camp by geography and tradition. Their enthusiasm waxed and waned depending on events, but they never really attempted to leave the British sphere.

The Stockbridge Mohicans were enthusiastic rebels, and the Oneida tribe of the Iroqouis mostly backed the Continental Congress. In the main, however, as the war progressed, the far sighted and conservative diplomats of the First Nations chose to support the cause of a distant British king over the close and voracious, land grabbing rebellion. Sadly, the lot of the Natives who supported the rebellion was the same as that of those who supported the King; all were driven from their ancestral lands.

The Royal governement supported several Indian Departments during the Revolution, and their complex political nature is beyond the scope of this site. Col. John Campbell commanded the Department responsible for the Seven Nations of Canada, some Mohawks, and any western Natives brought East in direct support of military expeditions against the rebellious provinces. The Indian Department he commanded was composed of only sixty or so men, many of whom were store clerks, secretaries. or managers who never left their headquarters at Montreal. In the field, however, were almost twenty "Officers". These men seldom served as an organized unit, and were analogous to modern special forces detachments trained to support rather than lead indigenous insurgents. The Indian Department provided support services in areas that Native cultures mostly lacked (like gunsmithing), as well as logistical support and liason to the British Headquarters. Indian Department officers did not lead Native warriors, as Natives had many highly trained and very capable leaders of their own. They did attempt to target the efforts of their Native allies against targets that London and Quebec found "suitable" and to restrain those military traditions of the Frist Nations that did not suit the military conventions of the 18th century. They also served as translators, guides, gunsmiths, and surveyors or cartographers, as well as couriers and spies. (It's worth noting, though, that exceptions to all of these roles exsist; Joseph Brant was both a Native war leader and an Indian Department Officer; some Indian Department officers led native warriors; some Native war leaders led Loyalist and British troops, like Little David of the Seneca, and some Indian Department members engaged in, led, or caused atrocities that offended not only the code of 18th century conduct but the Native code as well.)

Colonel Campbell's Deputy was Captain Alexander Fraser, who was given the Company of Select Marksmen to provide military support to Native warriors in 1776. Many Indian Deparment officers accompanied Capt. Fraser in 1776 and 1777, serving as the links between his regular unit and his Native allies. After 1777. Fraser continued to work with the Natives while apparently commanding the 34th Foot's Light Company, largely composed of survivors of his Company of Select Marksmen. To further confuse the issue, some of these men were additionally paid as Indian Department men (a much higher rate of pay) for the rest of the War. In 1779, The Indian Department and the Light Company of the 34th were both present at the last Native attempt to stop Sullivan's Expedition against the Seneca at present day Groveland NY. In 1781 Capt Fraser was again active, this time in the Mohawk Valley, as were the Indian Department. Throughout the War, members of the Indian Department were constantly in the field, scouting, providing courier services, guiding Loyalist refugees to their new homes in Canada, and striking at Rebel logistics throughout the Province of New York. After the War, the Indian Department troops, the bulk of whom were American born, were settled throughout Upper Canada.

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