Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Queen’s Rangers: Rockefeller Library

Detail from the cartouch of an artist’s proof of a plan
of the Battle of Green Springs. The figure is an Hussar if the QR.

One of the only perks of frequent travel to Tidewater Virginia on business, is a brief stopover at Colonial Williamsburg. The Rockefeller Library is currently hosting a small exhibit on John Graves Simcoe and the Queen’s Rangers (First American Regiment).

Facsimile of a recruitment broadside from the British Occupation of Philadelphia.

The small collection displays facsimiles (such as the broadside above) and original artifacts and artwork.  It was with pleasure that I was able to view the incredible details of objects I had only previously seen in grainy .bmps. 

QR Light infantry and Hussar.  A plate after the original watercolor, notice the crescent is missing
from the saddle blanket.

Period print in the Murray collection of a QR Rifleman.
The Rangers were a Provincial “Legion”, that is,  a Loyalist combined arms unit comprised of Line Infantry, Light Infantry, Grenadiers, Hussars, Dragoon’s, and oftentimes; light artillery and pioneer attachments.  As such they were an ideal reconnaissance unit capable of conducting screen, guard and cover missions for the British Army’s Main Body.

The exhibit contained two buttons (one was dug at the Governor’s mansion at Williamsburg, the other at Kingsbridge in New York-both places we know the QR were posted thanks to Lt Col Simcoe’s Journal.

Button excavated during archaeological dig around Williamsburg's Governor's Palace.

Button excavated at Kingsbridge, NY- another frequent haunt of the QR.

The Star Fort at Great Bridge.  Some of the QR had fought here
previously in 1775 with the Queen's Own Loyal Virginia Regiment
under Governor Lord Dunmore.

It is the journal that was the real star of the exhibit, that is to say, the original artist’s proofs of the engagements of the QR and the disposition of the Star Fort at Great Bridge.

Detail of the Star Fort

In 1781, 100 rangers built this fort in four days on the Elizabeth River, just north of the NC border.  This was a brief chapter in the Arnold-Phillips Campaigns prior to Lord Cornwallis' arrival in Virginia.

Bombardment and feint at Williamsburg (1781)

Action at Osburn's Landing (1781)

Spencer's Ordinary (1781)



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  2. don [byrd] awaltJune 19, 2019 at 9:49 PM

    As a descendant of Captain James Kerr of the Queens Rangers, who settled eventually at Fox River Point in Nova Scotia, I can say that I sincerely enjoyed this post ...

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