War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier

War on the Run: The Epic Story of Robert Rogers and the Conquest of America's First Frontier

John F. Ross

Language: English

Pages: 576

ISBN: 0553384570

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Often hailed as the godfather of today’s elite special forces, Robert Rogers trained and led an unorthodox unit of green provincials, raw woodsmen, farmers, and Indian scouts on “impossible” missions in colonial America that are still the stuff of soldiers’ legend. The child of marginalized Scots-Irish immigrants, Rogers learned to survive in New England’s dark and deadly forests, grasping, as did few others, that a new world required new forms of warfare. John F. Ross not only re-creates Rogers’s life and his spectacular battles with breathtaking immediacy and meticulous accuracy, but brings a new and provocative perspective on Rogers’s unique vision of a unified continent, one that would influence Thomas Jefferson and inspire the Lewis and Clark expedition. Rogers’s principles of unconventional war-making would lay the groundwork for the colonial strategy later used in the War of Independence—and prove so compelling that army rangers still study them today. Robert Rogers, a backwoods founding father, was heroic, admirable, brutal, canny, ambitious, duplicitous, visionary, and much more—like America itself.




















by the Abenaki, they would wave a flag of truce and declare themselves ambassadors, ready to offer a handsome belt of wampum and negotiate peace. Once finished with their parley, the messengers would ostensibly carry the Abenaki response to Wolfe, while in fact delivering Amherst’s secret correspondence. (Apparently abuse of the white flag was a crime only against white men.) The party left on August 9. A month later Captain Disserat of the Régiment de La Reine appeared before Crown Point under

agreeable to the Soldiers of the Company”25 Rogers found other aspects of life in the southern colonies not to his liking. He endured what that locals called the “seasoning,”26 several months or more during which newcomers contracted a variety of subtropical diseases and learned to cope with the heat. Rogers contracted malaria, running through its brutal episodes of fevers and chills, which weakened him at times to the point where he could barely walk. “Myriads of musquetoes,” Rogers wrote,

York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 61. 8. DRCHSNY, 10:34. 9. Robert Rogers, A Concise Account of North America: containing a description of the several British colonies on that continent… (London, 1765), p. 228. 10. William Smith, Expedition Against the Ohio Indians (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, 1966), p. 39. 11. BEP, April 28, 1746, p. 3. 12. Francis Parkman, A Half Century of Conflict (New York: AMS Press, 1969), vol. 2, chap. 23. 13. Samuel Gardner Drake, A

1954), p. 330. 6. Another explanation suggests that Williams touched off a booby-trapped skiff placed near Otter Creek by the French. Rogers notes the presence of such devices but remarks that his party fortunately avoided their ill effects. It seems unlikely that he would have omitted recording such a misfortune, had it befallen Williams. 7. BEP, October 1, 1759, p. 3. 8. Gary Zaboly, A True Ranger: The Life and Many Wars of Major Robert Rogers (Garden City Park, N.Y.: Royal Block House,

soon the three were fast-diminishing specks on the ice. They reached the fort that evening. The next morning, Lieutenant Charles Bulkeley of Hobbs’s company appeared with 15 men and a sleigh to carry the wounded, including Rogers, upon whom the loss of so many good comrades weighed far more heavily than his exposed and throbbing hand. In his journals Rogers counted 14 killed, six wounded, and nine missing. Reports of French and Indian dead vary. After the battle Captain James Abercrombie,

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