New Hampshire Provincials
Origin and History
In 1745, 304 Provincials from New Hampshire took part in the siege and capture of Louisbourg.
Service during the War
In 1755, New Hampshire raised 500 Provincials. Colonel Joseph Blanchard was given command of the regiment. A company, under Robert Rogers, was sent to build Fort Wentworth on the upper reaches of the Connecticut River before joining Sir William Johnson's army at Fort Edward in New York. In August, the 500 New Hampshire Provincials took part in the expedition against Fort Saint-Frédéric (present-day Crown Point) led by Johnson. A fort initially known as Fort Lyman (soon renamed Fort Edward) was built on the Hudson River at the carrying place leading to Lake Saint-Sacrement (present-day Lake George). On August 26, the New Hampshire Provincials were left at Fort Lyman under Colonel Blanchard while the rest of the expeditionary force continued its advance towards Lake Saint-Sacrement. On September 8, during the Combat of Lake George, Colonel Blanchard was in command at Fort Edward. When he heard the sound of musketry and saw the smoke of burning ox-carts, Blanchard sent a detachment (80 men of the New Hampshire Provincials and 20 men of the New York Provincials) under Nathaniel Folsom to reinforce Johnson who was 23 km away. Captain Folsom's detachment was able to capture the French baggage train, as the French and Indian forces disengaged from Johnson's main force. After this engagement, a second battalion of New Hamshire Provincials was raised under the command of Colonel Peter Gilman and sent to reinforce the army at Lake George. Both battalions left Fort Edward in December to return home to New Hampshire except for Robert Rogers' Ranger company that stayed behind as part of the winter garrison.
In the spring of 1756, New Hampshire raised 2 battalions placed under the command of Colonel Nathaniel Meserve. The 1st battalion was sent to Nova Scotia and the 2nd to the newly built Fort William Henry.
For the 1757 campaign, New Hampshire raised 2 battalions, still under command of Colonel Meserve. The 1st would again go to Halifax and the 2nd battalion, under the command of Lieutenant-colonel John Goffe, to Fort William Henery. Of the 200 men from the New Hampshire Provincial Regiment present at Fort William Henry, 80 were killed in the Siege of Fort William Henry and in the massacre that followed. With the 1st battalion in Nova Scotia and the 2nd battalion regrouping at Fort Edward, a 3rd battalion of infantry with 2 attached companies of dragoons was quickly raised under the command of Major Thomas Tash and sent to Fort at Number 4 to protect the western frontier of New Hampshire.
For the 1758 campaign again 2 battalion were raised. The 1st under Colonel John Hart would join General Jeffrey Amherst in the capture of the Fortress of Louisbourg and the 2nd (about 800 men) under Lieutenant-colonel Goffe was sent to join General James Abercrombie in the expedition against Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga). On July 5, they were embarked at the head of Lake George. On July 6 at daybreak, the British flotilla reached the narrow channel leading into Lake Champlain near Fort Carillon and disembarkation began at 9:00 a.m.. On July 8, they fought in the disastrous Battle of Carillon. The battalion and the attached rangers stayed on the flanks during the main assault and covered the retreat of the British Army preventing a complete disaster. At daybreak on July 9, the British army re-embarked and retreated to the head of the lake where it reoccupied the camp it had left a few days before.
In 1759, the 1st Battalion was attached to the force under General James Wolfe which undertook the amphibious expedition against Québec, serving in a support role. Meanwhile, the 2nd battalion (about 1,000 men) served under General Amherst in the expedition against Carillon and Fort Saint-Frédéric, driving the French from the Lake Champlain valley. In 1759, one-third of all able-bodied males of military age in New Hampshire were serving in the British military.
In 1760, Colonel Goffe commanded the New Hampshire troops who built the Crown Point Military Road from the Fort at Number 4 to the new British fort at Crown Point in forty days during the spring. The New Hampshire Provincials (about 800 men) then took part in the three pronged attack against Montreal and the fall of Nouvelle-France later that year.
In 1762, volunteers from the New Hampshire Provincials took part in the expedition against Cuba.
New Hampshire Provincials had no uniform, they used only their own clothing. They were notoriously badly clothed and equipped.
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This article contains texts extracted from the following publications:
- Barstow, George: The History of New Hampshire – from its discovery, in 1614, to the passage of the Toleration Act, in 1819, 2nd ed., Boston: Little & Brown, 1853, pp. 194-208
- Wikipedia – New Hampshire Provincial Regiment
Lawson, Cecil C. P.: A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, Vol. III, London: Kaye & Ward, pp. 190-225
N.B.: the section Service during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.