The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

Guerilla Warfare along the American Border

Americans Forced On the Defensive

A soldier of Butler's Rangers, 1778-1783

Caption: A soldier of Butler's Rangers, 1778-1783

These large-scale raids, combined with many smaller expeditions, shook the Americans. George Washington ordered General John Sullivan to counterattack. In 1779, Sullivan, in command of some 3,500 soldiers, destroyed the Iroquois villages, causing considerable damage. More than 2,600 Iroquois were forced to take refuge at Fort Niagara. In spite of this, the Americans were unable to neutralize the British and Iroquois forces. There were many skirmishes, with the Americans generally on the losing end, and Sullivan did not dare to attack either Oswego or Fort Niagara, where Butler and Brant were headquartered. In spite of the destruction of the Iroquois villages, the raids began even more intensely the following year, not only from Niagara, but also from Crown Point, by detachments of Sir John Johnson's Loyalist Regiment. Fort Stanwix was placed under such heavy harassment by Butler and Brant that the Americans abandoned it in May 1781. In 1781 and 1782 a detachment of Butler's Rangers left Detroit to fight as far away as Kentucky. Meanwhile, in 1781 several small corps of Loyalists were formed into a battalion of Loyal Rangers in Montreal; with the support of another Loyalist corps, the King's Rangers, it carried out a few reconnaissance expeditions in Vermont. Throughout the conflict, the guerilla tactics forced the Americans to be on the defensive from Lake Champlain to Detroit.

Additional Images

An Indian orator at a meeting with officers of the British Indian Department, circa 1780
Joseph Brant, or Thayendanegea (1742-1807) in 1776