Sir John Johnson



The exertions of Continental Army General Schuyler to reinforce and supply the army in Canada in 1776 were untiring, and the amount of labor to accomplish that end, which he performed while tortured with bodily suffering, was prodigious. At the same time he was defeating, by vigilance, wisdom and energy, the efforts of Sir John Johnson to bring upon the rear of the Northern Army the Tories west of Albany, and the Six Nations of Indians. Early in January (1776) he was told that Sir John had fortified his manor-house at Johnstown, and that his retainers, mostly Scotch Highlanders, seven hundred in number, were in arms. The general called for volunteers to enable him to disarm this formidable conspiracy. The response was marvellous. They came in such numbers, that, when he was within a few miles of Johnson Hall, he was at the head of almost three thousand men, including nine hundred of the Tryon County militia. He had met Sir John on the way, and made friends of the Mohawks; and he compelled the baronet and his followers to surrender all the arms and military stores which they had collected. He also took Johnson's parole of honor that he would not take up arms against the republicans, nor tamper with the Indians. Sir John deceived Schuyler with false promises. He violated his parole; and when Schuyler sent an armed force to arrest him in May, he fled, with his followers, through the great wilderness between Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains to the St. Lawrence, and joined the British army in Canada. He was commissioned a colonel in that army, and raised two battalions--a total of a thousand men, composed of his retainers and other Tories. These were the formidable corps known in the border warfare of that period as The Royal Greens, because of their green uniform. Lady Johnson, who was a daughter of John Watts, one of the king's counsellors of the province, was sent to Albany on horseback in that pleasant spring-time, attended by a military escort, where she was kept in durance several months, as a hostage for the restraint of her husband.





Return to Our Country, Vol II