Just how many Loyalists were there in the colonies when the shot at Lexington was heard ‘round the world?
Well, no one knows for sure, but there were plenty of folks who remained loyal to King George III.
John Adams (in an 1813 letter) guessed that a third of Americans were not “with us in the revolution.”
Seems like that’s too high, according to a post by Michael Schellhammer on AllThingsLiberty.com, read it here.
Yet some historians have estimated the Loyalist segment among 2.5 million colonials ranged from 75,000 to over 400,000.
Another estimate is that almost 20,000 colonials fought with Loyalist or British regiments during the war. For comparison, about 100,000 patriots served with Continental forces, and many more fought with independent militia units against the British regulars.
The Loyalists had some impact in the fighting in New York and Connecticut, and at several key battles including Camden and the Cowpens, but they never came close to being the kind of organized, decisive military force that British generals vainly hoped for.
The British army commanders never had enough troops to beat the Continentals and their French allies, and the Loyalist units never tipped the balance for the King’s men.
Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2014