Monday, February 11, 2013

Native American Fighting Tactics Needed, in the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution

Part 10 of the series Are Native Americans Relevant?

The early history of the North American continent is filled with the wars of different groups of people struggling to gain control of areas to obtain access to more land and more fur.  The fur trade and the wars over it depended on Native Americans.  In order to obtain more furs each Native group had to move deeper into the continent, thus creating more warfare.  European countries made alliances with Native tribes to obtain more furs.  They also used their Native allies to persuade other Native tribes to do what they want.  Failing this, the people of the rebellious tribes were either killed or captured to be enslaved. 
The French government used Native American warriors in their territorial conquest before the British government.  The Europeans learned they needed Native scouts and guides to avoid Native traps.  After defeat of Fort Duquesne 9 Jul 1755 British realized they had to change.  British parliament authorized establishment of rangers, including Rogers’ Rangers which was active in northern New York. 
Major Robert Rogers, with Mohican warriors in the background to his right.
The American colonists realized that guerrilla style warfare was crucial to enable the thirteen colonies of 3 million people to defeat the largest and best armed empire currently in the world.  Natives stressed strategy and technique instead of technology.  The American troops used guerrilla tactics when not enough men to fight the British in the traditional European manner.  Famous guerrilla fighters of the American Revolution were Francis Marion of South Carolina and Ethan and Ira Allen and their Green Mountain Boys of Vermont.  Indeed, the Green Mountain Boys had three Mohican men in their ranks:  Henry, John and Jonathan Van Gilder.  The Mohicans, the related Wappingers and one band of Oneidas were the primary Native Americans to freely fight on the Patriot side.  

Drawing of a Mohican man in the uniform of his regiment, artist a Hessian officer.

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