Cover image for Redcoats : the British soldier and war in the Americas, 1755-1763
Redcoats : the British soldier and war in the Americas, 1755-1763
Brumwell, Stephen, 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, U.K. ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
ix, 349 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E199 .B89 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In the last decade, scholarship has highlighted the significance of the Seven Years War for the destiny of Britain's Atlantic empire. This major 2001 study offers an important perspective through a vivid and scholarly account of the regular troops at the sharp end of that conflict's bloody and decisive American campaigns. Sources are employed to challenge enduring stereotypes regarding both the social composition and military prowess of the 'redcoats'. This shows how the humble soldiers who fought from Novia Scotia to Cuba developed a powerful esprit de corps that equipped them to defy savage discipline in defence of their 'rights'. It traces the evolution of Britain's 'American Army' from a feeble, conservative and discredited organisation into a tough, flexible and innovative force whose victories ultimately won the respect of colonial Americans. By providing a voice for these neglected shock-troops of empire, Redcoats adds flesh and blood to Georgian Britain's 'sinews of power'.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This new book by British freelancer Brumwell (coauthor, Cassell's Companion to 18th-Century British History) makes a nice companion to Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (LJ 2/1/00). Whereas Anderson gives a magisterial overview of the conflict, Brumwell concentrates on the experiences of the rank-and-file "Redcoats" in the British army. Drawing on wide-ranging research in North American and British archives, he revises the standard negative view of the ordinary British soldiers and their officers. This negative view sees the rank and file as the dregs of society who obeyed orders only out of fear of the lash, while their officers tended to be unimaginative fops or fools who had purchased their commissions. While not denying that there is an element of truth in these stereotypes, Brumwell demonstrates that by the end of the war Britain's "American Army" had become a flexible, impressive fighting machine. Brumwell notes the irony that George Washington's Continental Army owed much of its success to its emulation of the British army in the Seven Years' War. This is a noteworthy, engaging book for specialists as well as general readers. Highly recommended for all academic and public libraries. T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. vi
Acknowledgementsp. vii
Abbreviations used in footnotesp. x
Introduction: Approaching the 'American Army'p. 1
1 Britain's war effort in the Americasp. 11
2 Gone for a soldierp. 54
3 Following the drump. 99
4 The environmental parameters of American campaigningp. 137
5 The 'American Army' and Native Americansp. 162
6 Irregular warfare in the Americasp. 191
7 The tactical evolution of the redcoatsp. 227
8 The Highland battalions in the Americasp. 264
9 The legacies of the 'American Army'p. 290
Appendix Statistical tablesp. 315
Bibliographyp. 321
Indexp. 343