The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

Raising Troops in Canada

New Units of American Loyalists

Loyalist soldier, 1776-1783

Caption: Loyalist soldier, 1776-1783

After the withdrawal of the American troops, refugees were arriving in growing numbers in Canada, primarily from New York State. They were called "Loyalists," Americans who had not espoused the cause of the majority in favour of independence and who preferred to remain loyal to the British Crown. Those who wished to remain British subjects were being persecuted. Many had been able to reach the English lines and, armed by the British, formed Loyalist regiments. Several Loyalist military corps had also been established in Canada itself.

The first significant group of refugees, approximately 200 persons, arrived in Montreal in May 1776. The group was led by Sir John Johnson, to whom Carleton had granted permission to form a regiment of Loyalists "to furnish people so circumstanced with the means of defending themselves." 46 Called the King's Royal Regiment of New York, it served along the Canadian border. In early 1777 the Jessup brothers arrived from Albany with several refugees to form the King's Loyal Americans. The Queen's Loyal Rangers was established from a group of other refugees at around the same time. The first battalion of the Royal Highland Emigrants was also recruited from among the Loyalists. These new troops were mostly stationed in the Montreal area.