The American War of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell
By Robert A. McGeachy
« Continued from previous age
Archibald Campbell was not the sort of commander to rest on his laurels and, displaying a dynamism and swiftness of movement rarely matched by other British commanders in the war, continued his advance upriver, mopping up all Patriot resistance. On 10 January 1779 Campbell returned to Savannah, where he was joined by General Augustin Prevost who had finally arrived from East Florida after the capture of Sunbury. Archibald Campbell immediately presented General Prevost with his plan for an offensive against Augusta to complete the re-conquest of Georgia. Campbell appears to have removed any doubts which Prevost may have had, by telling him that the capture of Augusta would make the General the first British officer “to take a stripe and star from the rebel flag of Congress”.76 This argument proved irresistible to General Prevost, and Campbell’s dispatch to Sir Henry Clinton of 16 January 1779 confirms that he was preparing:
“…to march with all of the Light Troops and a Battalion of the 71st Regiment to Augusta, to capture that important Post on the Savannah River, and there give encouragement to his Majesty’s loyal subjects in the Back Country of the Carolinas”.
Campbell’s dispatch referred to the difficulties of campaigning in Georgia, and confirms that with his usual thoroughness he was making careful preparations before launching the offensive: “The country through which I must travel is little cultivated and thinly populated. Hence careful arrangements were necessary to reduce the Hazards of this expedition”.77
General Prevost wrote to Clinton on 14 February 1779, and informed the latter that he had set up headquarters at Ebenezer, a location which allowed him to protect Savannah, while supporting Campbell of Inverneill’s operations in Augusta. Campbell captured Augusta on 29 January 1779, and was reinforced by the 2nd Battalion of his 71st Highlanders and three Grenadier companies.78 The British advance, however, failed to rally the expected numbers of local Loyalists to join the Crown forces. Without such reinforcements, the British position in Augusta soon became vulnerable to attack from the large formations of Patriot troops which were massing on the Carolina side of the Savannah River. The Patriots troops had seized sufficient numbers of boats to enable them to return almost at will to the western shore. Faced by an enemy which was growing in strength daily, both Campbell of Inverneill and General Prevost appreciated the increasing danger of remaining in Augusta. This is confirmed by Prevost’s dispatch to Sir Henry Clinton dated 1 March 1779, in which he described Augusta as a “Bad Post”, and warned that Campbell’s force faced being surrounded and cut off, unless significantly reinforced by fresh troops. These factors forced Campbell of Inverneill to stage a tactical retreat from Augusta on 13 February 1779, and to set up a new base at Hudson’s Ferry, which was about 24 miles from the main army at Ebenezer. A letter from George Washington to Henry Laurens dated 20 March 1779 confirms that the Patriots were perplexed by what their Commander in Chief described as Archibald Campbell’s “precipitate retreat from Fort Augusta”.79 For his part, Stedman referred to Campbell’s withdrawal from Augusta “by easy marches”. Subsequent events tend to support the view that Campbell’s prompt action and skilful tactical withdrawal, deprived the Patriots of an opportunity to exploit their significant numerical advantage over the British force at Augusta, and to cut Campbell off from the main British army at Ebenezer.
Undeterred by the tactical retreat from Augusta, the dramatic success of the British campaign in the south, which was largely due to Campbell of Inverneill’s bold leadership, convinced Lord George Germain that the British war effort should concentrate on regaining control over South Carolina. Seizing the political initiative, the British Government sent back Sir James Wright, the former governor of the colony, to run its government. Wright convened a Loyalist Assembly at Savannah in 1780, and Britain’s restored colonial government ran Georgia for nearly three years.80 Lord George Germain also wrote to Clinton on 31 March 1779 informing the Commander in Chief that, if Campbell of Inverneill had insufficient troops to launch the campaign against South Carolina in the spring, he was to send Inverneill reinforcements to enable him to capture Charleston.81 Germain’s suggestion that Campbell of Inverneill should command the operations against South Carolina confirms the growing esteem with which he was held in British government and military circles. The overall effect of Archibald Campbell’s campaign was that, following the defeat of the Patriot forces at Briar Creek on 3 March 1779 by General Augustin Prevost’s brother Mark, Britain had established a line of British forts between Augusta and Savannah. Campbell of Inverneill’s achievements had far outweighed those of his immediate superior, General Augustin Prevost. Despite this, General Augustin Prevost was able to repress any disappointment he may have felt at being outshone by Campbell of Inverneill. Indeed, Prevost seems to have been shrewd enough to appreciate the considerable advantages of having as talented an officer as Campbell under his command, a fact confirmed in Prevost’s letter to Clinton of 14 February 1779. Archibald Campbell’s involvement in the campaign, however, rapidly came to an end when his health finally gave way shortly after his army arrived at Hudson’s Ferry, and prevented him from commanding the proposed offensive against South Carolina.
Archibald Campbell relinquished his command to Lt. Col. Mark Prevost, and returned to Savannah. On 12 March 1779 Campbell of Inverneill sailed for Britain with Commodore Parker on the “Phoenix”.82 This was a serious blow to the British war effort in the south, and strategically Campbell of Inverneill’s departure marked the high water mark of British offensive action in Georgia. Sadly for the British cause it subsequently proved impossible to capitalize on Inverneill’s spectacular success. Archibald Campbell’s skilful tactics had restored Georgia to the Crown, but the number of southern Loyalists rallying to the King’s Colours proved disappointing, and the British Government’s backing for the army in the south was too half-hearted to build upon these gains. In addition, Britain’s political and military leadership lacked strategic vision, which resulted in the British government providing ineffective support to two different theatres of war, in the north and the south. This created an overstretch of military resources which became more pronounced as Britain found itself fighting a World War with the entry of France, Spain and Holland into the conflict. The British Government and its military commanders, however, only rarely demonstrated the skill and tactical awareness necessary to cope with the demands of fighting a world war and, as a result, lost the Colonies.
Assessments of Archibald Campbell’s Southern Campaign: Humanitarian Concerns
One of the factors highlighted by contemporaries in their accounts of Archibald Campbell’s victorious southern campaign was the humanity and compassion he displayed towards his defeated enemies. This was considered to be all the more remarkable given Archibald Campbell’s own harsh treatment at the hands of the Patriots:
“neither the glory of the victory, nor the military renown arising from the judicious measures, and admirable manoeuvres which led to it, could reflect more honour upon the commander in chief, than every other part of his conduct. His triumph was neither distained by an unnecessary effusion of blood, nor degraded by present or subsequent cruelty. The moderation, clemency, and humanity of all his conduct, will be considered still the more praise-worthy, when it is recollected, that he was under the immediate impression of such peculiar circumstances of irritation and resentment, as had not been experienced by any other British officer, who had borne command during the American war”.83
Even as his army pursued the fleeing Patriots, Campbell of Inverneill issued orders to protect the civilian population of Savannah. Indeed, one contemporary account reported that: “no place in similar circumstances, ever suffered so little by depredation, as the town of Savannah did upon this occasion; even taking into the account, that committed by their own negroes during the darkness of the approaching night”.84
Archibald Campbell’s conduct in North America, and military record in Jamaica, made him one of the few British commanders whose military reputation actually grew through his participation in the American Revolution. This reputation, however, was earned not just because of his undoubted skill as a shrewd tactician and energetic battlefield commander, but also because in the course of a war often characterised by great brutality on both sides, he repeatedly demonstrated that he was a humanitarian, and harboured no grudges against the Patriots who had treated him so badly in nearly two years of captivity. Contemporary accounts from both sides agree that Archibald Campbell tried to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, showed great compassion towards captured Patriots, and went to great lengths to ensure that the civilian population was protected.
In the southern theatre these qualities made Campbell of Inverneill’s conduct almost unique, because the fighting in this area had been particularly vicious. The war in the south was largely a civil war between Loyalist and Patriot former neighbours, and was characterised by brutality and cruelty on both sides. Massacres such as General Tarleton’s British Legion’s execution of Patriots attempting to surrender at Waxhaw in the Carolinas, and the killing of Loyalist and British prisoners of war by the Patriot Forces after the battle of King’s Mountain, came to overshadow the conflict. The whole region appears to have been in a state of anarchy, and an Irish officer on the British side observed that the “violence and passions of these people are beyond every curb of religion and humanity”. He left a graphic account of conditions prevailing in the Carolinas: “They are unbounded and every hour exhibit dreadful wanton mischiefs, murders and violence of every kind, unheard of before. We find the country in great measure abandoned, and the few who venture to remain at home are in hourly expectation of being murdered, or stripped of all their property”.85
Against this background of vicious bloodletting, contemporaries on both sides paid tribute to the humanity and restraint shown by Archibald Campbell of Inverneill. This is confirmed by Alexander Garden in his Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America with Sketches of Character (1822). Garden’s account of Campbell of Inverneill has particular authority because he served on the Patriot side with “Lee’s Partisan Legion” and as “aide-de-camp of Major General Greene”. Garden referred to Campbell’s humanity, to his concern for the civilian population and lack of bitterness towards his former captors. He also related how the Patriots feared Archibald Campbell as a commander of great ability:
“A conqueror at Savannah, his immediate care was to soften the asperities of war, and to reconcile to his equitable government, those who had submitted, in the first instance, to the superiority of his arms. Though but lately released from close and rigorous confinement, which he had suffered in consequence of indignities offered to General Charles Lee, a prisoner at New-York, he harboured no resentments, and considered his sufferings rather the effect of necessity, than wilful persecution. Oppression was foreign to his nature, and incompatible with his practice. He made proper allowance for an attachment to cherished principles, nor withheld his applause from those who bravely supported them. He used no threats to gain proselytes, no artifice to ensnare them. such of the inhabitants as voluntarily made a tender of service, were favourably received; but he was ever disinclined to invite them to take up arms in the British cause, lest in the fluctuating councils of his government, he should lead them to destruction. He had too frequently seen them lavish of professions of permanent support, leaving their deluded adherents to the mercy of the government, which, in evil hour, they had abandoned. The friends of our Independence had everything to dread from his wisdom and humanity, but their alarm was of short duration. Lieutenant Colonel Campbell had too nice a sense of honour to be made instrument of injustice and oppression, and he was speedily called on to relinquish his command, to a superior, less scrupulous and better disposed to second the harsh measures of the Commander in Chief”.86
This is not the first contemporary reference to the alleged brutality of General Augustin Prevost. Indeed, some accounts have even suggested that Campbell relinquished his command in protest over his superior’s methods or tactics. It is possible that this may have been a factor, but it is equally true that captivity and the rigours of campaigning had taken a heavy toll on Campbell of Inverneill’s health, and that the official reason of why he wanted to return to Britain was to allow him to recuperate from his ordeal. In this respect, a letter from General Sir Henry Clinton to General Augustin Prevost of as early as 8 November 1778 confirms that Archibald Campbell had “permission to return to Europe whenever he thinks proper after his junction”.87 This predates the actual campaign against Savannah, and would suggest that Campbell of Inverneill’s health was already of serious concern to the British military leadership. It is also likely that he would have been anxious to be reunited with Amelia Ramsay, whom he was to marry in 1779. Campbell of Inverneill had, therefore, probably already resolved to go home, and any disagreement with General Augustin Prevost over tactics or the treatment of the civilian population would simply have underlined this determination.
Campbell of Inverneill came home with his reputation considerably enlarged by the war. This made him almost unique amongst the British commanders who had suffered numerous setbacks, and had been bitterly criticised for their failures. At the time of his return the public mood was particularly sombre, as there appeared to be no end in sight to a conflict which was going badly for Britain, especially with the entry of France, Spain and Holland into the war on the Patriots’ side. Against this background, Campbell returned a hero, and the King was quick to reward him for the dramatic success of his campaign. Campbell of Inverneill, according to a reference in the New Statistical Account (1845), earned the King’s favour through his “judicious and gallant conduct”, and was immediately promoted to the rank of Colonel.88 After a period of recuperation, during which he married Amelia Ramsay, Archibald Campbell went back to the army. He did not, however, return to mainland North America, but was instead sent to the critical post of Jamaica in the West Indies. Campbell of Inverneill was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica in July 1781, and fought two successful engagements against the Spanish.89 In November 1782 he was promoted to the rank of Major General, with the additional distinction of being appointed the King’s aide-de-camp.90
Campbell of Inverneill held the post of military governor of Jamaica until 1784, during which period “he stood conspicuous for his enlarged and statesmanlike views, the strength and decision of his mind, and courage in the most critical and arduous circumstances”.91 Jamaica was of vital importance to Britain, both in terms of trade and in supporting the British war effort in North America. Its strategic significance was further underlined by France’s resolve to forcibly eject Britain from the West Indies, to add to its conquest of Tobago, St Eustatius, St Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. The British Government, therefore, took the view that defence of Britain’s remaining interests in the West Indies required the experienced leadership of an officer of Campbell of Inverneill’s stature and proven ability.
Upon his arrival in Jamaica, Archibald Campbell lost no time in ensuring that the island’s defences were in a state of readiness to repel any French invasion, and raised strong militia units from amongst the local Black population. He also devoted considerable time to training the raw recruits which had already been sent from Britain. These initiatives inhibited the French from attacking Jamaica, and enabled Campbell of Inverneill to concentrate his efforts on supporting the British war effort in North America with reinforcements, supplies and vital intelligence. He also sent some of his best troops to serve as Marines on board Admiral Rodney’s fleet, a decision which was arguably one of the key factors in the Admiral’s victory over the Comte de Grasse’s fleet off Saints Passage in April 1782.92 Campbell of Inverneill’s efforts were instrumental in preserving Britain’s colonies in the West Indies for the Crown. After his return to Britain, a grateful George III knighted Campbell of Inverneill on 30 September 1785 in recognition of his achievements in the West Indies.93
Back in Britain, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill received a new appointment as the governor of Madras in 1785. After arriving in India, he also became Commander in Chief at Madras in September 1786.94 Campbell of Inverneill served with distinction in India, during what was a particularly turbulent period in the East India Company’s history. Immediately facing up to the challenges ahead, Archibald Campbell set about reorganizing the East India Company’s forces at Madras, along the lines of the plans he had submitted to the East India Company’s Board of Directors in London. Another significant issue which demanded his immediate attention was the long running dispute over the Nabob of Arcot’s debts. Lord McCartney, the President of Madras, had sequestrated the Nabob’s territory and this complex issue blighted British-Indian relations for years. It involved a variety of competing Indian interests, exacerbated by intense in-fighting within the East India Company itself. Although fading in health, Campbell of Inverneill used all of his considerable life experience to broker an agreement between the East India Company and the Nabob of Arcot. By employing considerable tact and diplomacy, Archibald Campbell was able to get the parties to sign the Treaty of Arcot in 1788. Under this treaty, the Nabob agreed to pay nine lacs of rupees per year to the East India Company for the upkeep of the Company Sepoys (native soldiers) who were to defend his kingdom against Tipu Sultan. The Nabob was also to pay substantial amounts to his creditors, and to surrender the Revenues of the Carnatic to the Company as security.95 At the conclusion of the negotiations, Campbell of Inverneill remarked with evident relief that: “The power of the purse and sword is now completely secured to the Company, without lessening the consequence of the Nabob”.96
Unfortunately for Sir Archibald Campbell, although the treaty was ratified by the East India Company’s Board of Directors, and had the backing of senior figures such as Lord Cornwallis, the Governor General, some of the directors felt that the terms of the treaty were not favourable enough to the Company and too generous to the creditors, while the Nabob of Arcot and his creditors were also left unhappy by the settlement. These conflicting vested interests now all attempted to undermine the treaty to realize their own objectives. This, however, was not so much a reflection on Sir Archibald Campbell’s statesmanship, as the signatories attempting to satisfy their own supporters by distancing themselves from the Treaty’s provisions. A letter from Henry Dundas to Lord Cornwallis dated 13 July 1788 also confirms that the East India Company’s Board of Directors were a particularly fractious group, who “illiberally treated” all of their senior soldiers and administrators. This letter stated that Archibald Campbell had been particularly “hurt” by the criticism of the same East India Company directors who had endorsed the Treaty of Arcot.97 As the opposition to the Treaty of Arcot grew, Archibald Campbell, who had tried to act as an honest broker throughout the negotiations, became increasingly frustrated as he witnessed his work being unravelled. Lord Cornwallis was aware of Sir Archibald Campbell’s growing unease. The Governor General told the East India Company that “no Governor was ever more popular than Sir Archibald Campbell”, and warned that the latter’s “retirement from the Government might be attended with fatal consequences”.98 Such was Cornwallis’ appreciation of Campbell of Inverneill’s ability that he advised the directors to give Archibald Campbell “a commission of General to command in Chief in India”, in order to persuade him to stay in the country.
It is uncertain if the East India Company ever made such an offer, but it is highly unlikely that Archibald Campbell, now in poor health and deeply disillusioned with his employers, would have accepted. This is certainly borne out by Sir Archibald Campbell’s failure to strenuously fight the political campaign against him. Ignoring the pleas of Lord Cornwallis and other senior figures, he resigned his command in 1787 and gave notice of his intention to return to Britain by 1789. After resigning, Campbell, his health impaired and sickened by the machinations and hypocrisy of the Board of Directors, immersed himself in training the East India Company’s troops. It was during this period that Campbell wrote military handbooks such as “Regulations for the Company’s Troops on the Coast of Coramandel” and “Horse drills and Manoeuvres for the Native Calvary”.99 In 1787, Campbell of Inverneill also took command of the 74th Highlanders, which was one of four new regiments specifically raised for service in India. Perhaps with one eye on his return to Scotland, Archibald Campbell found time to write to John Campbell, the 4th Earl of Breadalbane, on 28 February 1788 promising his support for the work of the British Fisheries Society, which was attempting to promote fishing in the Highlands.100 Sir Archibald Campbell remained in India until 1789. Shortly after his arrival in Britain, Campbell was again re-elected as MP for Stirling Burgh. At this time it was widely expected that Archibald Campbell would be given a high command in the army, in anticipation of a resumption of hostilities with Spain over the disputed Nootka Sound in North America. His lengthy captivity in America and years of active service, however, had steadily destroyed his health and he died in 1791, less than two years after returning from India, and just as it appeared that he was on the brink of attaining one of the Army’s highest command.101
By the end of the American Revolution, Archibald Campbell of Inverneill stood out amongst the British generals as a commander of renown. Campbell’s reputation was based on a mixture of courage, boldness, excellent tactics, skilled use of military intelligence, and expert use of ground. Campbell of Inverneill demonstrated all these qualities to restore Georgia to the Crown. He routed the Patriots at Savannah, and then had the strategic awareness to avoid encirclement by various Patriot columns through executing a masterly retreat from Augusta to the more secure British lines at Ebenezer. In overall terms, Campbell of Inverneill’s accomplished leadership resulted in dramatic successes for the Crown forces in the southern colonies. His ability as a shrewd strategist and energetic front line commander earned him the plaudits and respect of contemporaries on both sides of the conflict. Indeed, Archibald Campbell was one of the few British military leaders who emerged from the war with any credit. It was, however, not just Campbell of Inverneill’s widely recognised ability as an accomplished military commander which made a powerful impression on contemporaries. In a brutal war, often characterised by atrocities on both sides, Archibald Campbell’s compassion and humanity were also frequently commented upon. In this respect, participants in the American Revolution were astounded that Archibald Campbell, after his cruel treatment as a prisoner of war, did his best to minimize bloodshed and attempted to protect the civilian population in the areas where he campaigned, rather than seeking revenge against his former captors.
During the later stages of the conflict, Campbell of Inverneill’s governorship of Jamaica marked another brilliant chapter in his career. He used his superb skills as an engineer, and as a military organizer, to strengthen the island’s defences and to raise militia units. Within a short period of time Archibald Campbell’s efforts were so successful that the French abandoned any thought of attacking the island. Having regained the initiative, Campbell lost no time in providing the British forces in North America with vital supplies and reinforcements. Again, demonstrating his confident leadership, rare gift for improvisation and fine gamblers’ instinct for taking calculated risks, he sent detachments of his own men to serve as Marines with Admiral Rodney’s fleet, an initiative which has been credited with turning the tide in the naval war against the French. As one of the few successful British commanders, Campbell was rewarded for his efforts with a succession of promotions and honours. His subsequent appointment as governor of, and commander in chief at, Madras reflected the high esteem in which he was held. This was a difficult posting and arguably few, if any, of Campbell’s contemporaries could have achieved as much as he did in such a short space of time, particularly as his health was rapidly deteriorating.
In the end, years of hard military campaigning in the service of his country, broke Archibald Campbell’s health, and he did not long survive his return to Britain. Perhaps the inscription on his tomb at Westminster Abbey provides the best summary of Campbell of Inverneill’s remarkable life: “He died in 1791, regretted and admired for his eminent civil and military services to his country. He was possessed of distinguished endowments of mind, inflexible integrity, unfeigned benevolence, with every social and amiable virtue”.102 His untimely death at the age of only 52 deprived the British Empire of an outstanding soldier and administrator, and one who had the potential to become one of the great British commanders of the eighteenth century. Even in his short life, however, Campbell of Inverneill won widespread respect from contemporaries, who admired Archibald Campbell as much for his military skills, as for the man’s many personal qualities, including his stoic endurance of a harsh captivity during the American Revolution. It is testimony to Archibald Campbell’s tremendous ability and strength of character that, in a conflict which proved to be a bonfire for the reputations of so many other British commanders, he was able both to overcome extreme personal adversity, and to emerge with his reputation considerably enhanced by the conduct of his campaigns.
1 C. Hibbert, Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes, (New York, 1991), 42 ñ 48; W. J. Wood, Battles of the Revolutionary War, (New York, 1995), 115, 135; W. Seymour, The Price of Folly: British Blunders in the War of American Independence, (London and Washington, 1995), passim.
2 Sir D. Campbell, Records of Clan Campbell in the Honourable East India Company, 1600 – 1858, (London, 1925), 27; I. G. Lindsay & M. Cosh, Inveraray and the Dukes of Argyll, (Edinburgh, 1973), 110 – 111; Dictionary of National Biography, 22 Vols., (London, 1973), III, 794; Burke’s Landed Gentry, Eighteenth Edition, 3 Vols., (Malta, 1972), 143; and C. H. Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill; Sometime Prisoner of War in the Jail at Concord, Massachusetts, (Concord,1898), 9.
3 Lindsay & Cosh, Inveraray, 171 – 173.
4 Lindsay & Cosh, Inveraray, 361.
5 Scottish Record Office [Hereafter, SRO], Campbell of Barcaldine MSS, GD 170/1644, 1766.
6 New Statistical Account [Hereafter, NSA], Argyll, VII, 634; Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 10.
7 Campbell, Records of Clan Campbell, 27.
8 M. M. Boetner (ed.), Cassell’s Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 1763 – 1783, (London, 1966), 170; Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 10.
9 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 10.
10 NSA, Argyll, VII, 635.
11 Campbell, Records of Clan Campbell, 27.
12 Campbell, Ibid, 27 -28.
13 Campbell, Ibid, 27.
14 Campbell, Ibid, 31
15 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 10.
16 A. Fraser, North Knapdale in the XVII and XVIIIth Centuries, (Oban, 1964), 81 ñ 87.
17 Fraser, Ibid, 81 ñ 87. Campbell of Duntroon’s luck in obtaining a post did not last long, as he died in India in 1791.
18 G. J. Bryant, `Scots in India in the Eighteenth Century’, The Scottish Historical Review, Volume LXIV, I,: No. 177: April 1985, 34.
19 This account of the changes in land ownership in mid-Argyll is based on Fraser, North Knapdale, 81 – 87; Genealogist, New Series, Vol.XXVIII, (London and Exeter, 1912), 34; for further details of the career of Archibald Campbell’s nephew, James Campbell, who became a General, and was ennobled with the Baronetcy of Inverneill see Dictionary of National Biography, III, 362.
20 SRO, Campbell of Barcaldine MSS, GD 170/1705, 27 June 1784.
21 J. Browne, History of the Highlands, and of the Highland Clans, 4 vols., (London, Edinburgh and Dublin, 1845), IV, 262 -263.
22 Browne, Ibid, IV, 263.
23 Browne, Ibid, IV, 269n.; see also M. Brander, The Scottish Highlanders and their Regiments, (London, 1971), 164-165.
24 `Letter from Lt-Col. Campbell to General Howe’, Scots Magazine, vol.xxxviii, (Edinburgh, 1776), 428.
25 T. Jones, History of New York During the Revolutionary War, 2 vols., (New York, 1879), I, 54; J. Fitzpatrick (ed.), The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745 – 1799, 26 vols., (Washington, 1931 -38), V, 202 -203; C. Stedman, The History of the Origin, Progress and Termination of the American War, 2 vols., (London, 1794), 168 – 169. One source has suggested that the British did leave a screening force, until it was driven off by the Patriots as late as two days before the arrival of Archibald Campbell’s transports, but this is not supported by other contemporary records, and may simply have been a British attempt to whitewash their own incompetence; Walcott, Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 14.
26 `Letter from Lt-Col. Campbell to General Howe’, Scots Magazine, vol.xxxviii, (1776) 428 -429.
27 Scots Magazine, Ibid, 428 – 429.
28 Scots Magazine, Ibid, 428; see also Browne, Ibid, IV, 264; Barcaldine MSS, GD 170/1585/13, 27th August 1776.
29 J. Sparks (ed.), Correspondence of the American Revolution: being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington from the Time of his Taking Command of the Army to the End of his Presidency, 4 vols., (Boston, 1853), I, 226 -227.
30 For an account of the treatment of prisoners of war on both sides, and of the prisoner exchange issue see C. H. Metzger, The Prisoner in the American Revolution, (Chicago, 1971), 51, 223 -228; see also `Mr Bancroft’s Letter on the Exchange of Prisoners during the American War of Independence’, New York Historical Society, (New York, 1862).
31 Scots Magazine, xxxviii, (Edinburgh, 1776), 427. For further accounts of the alleged mistreatment of prisoners see, for example, Metzger, Ibid; Dr S. A. Green, `Refutation of the Alleged Ill-Treatment of Captain Fenton’s Wife and Daughter’, New York Historical Society, (Boston, 1894).
32 Metzger, Ibid, 285 – 288.
33 J. P. MacLean, The Settlement of Scotch Highlanders in America, (Cleveland, Glasgow, 1900), 189 – 190. According to C. W. Rife in his Ethan Allen: An Interpretation, (Portland Maine, 1929), between 1771 and 1775 “this rude soldiery [the Green Mountain Boys] paralysed New York authority in the Grants by a deliberate policy of mob violence”, 564.
34 General Schuyler denied Ethan Allen a regular commission on that occasion because of his alleged “impatience of subordination”, and Allen’s joint leadership of the expedition can be attributed to sheer force of character, and to his personal support amongst the Green Mountain Boys, rather than to any official sanction from Congress; Rife, Ibid, 567. Indeed, despite sharing in the Patriots’ victory, Allen was still regarded by many on his own side as a dangerous demagogue, whose recklessness made him unsuitable for high military rank. This view was borne out by subsequent events when Ethan Allen’s rashness led to his capture near Montreal in September 1775. Washington, himself, in a letter to Major General Schuyler of 26th October 1775, stated that he hoped Allen’s “misfortune” would be an object lesson “…of Prudence and Subordination to others, who may be too ambitious to outshine their General Officers, and regardless of Order and duty, rush into Enterprizes, which have unfavourable Effects to the Publick, and are destructive to themselves”; Fitzpatrick, The Writings of George Washington, IV, 45 ñ 46; Sparks, Ibid, I, 66.
35 For an account of Ethan Allen’s treatment see Scots Magazine, xxxvii, (Edinburgh, 1775), 649-650. Further details of Allen’s remarkable life can be found in J. Pell, Ethan Allen, (London, 1929); C. W. Rife, Ibid; S. F. Bemis, `Relations Between the Vermont Separatists and Great Britain, 1789 – 1791′, The Magazine of History, vol.22 January – June 1916, (New York, 1916); Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (Edinburgh, 1781), 21 – 22.
36 Sparks, Ibid, I, 86, 110; see also Fitzpatrick, Ibid, IV, 169n. – 171, 407, 475 ñ 476. In Ethan Allen’s own account, after capture his detachment was extremely lucky not to be massacred by Britain’s Indian levies, an atrocity which was only prevented by the intervention of some British soldiers. Allen was then left in no doubt that his imprisonment was likely to be oppressive, when he heard General Prescott’s initial greeting: “I will not execute you now; but you shall grace a halter at Tyburn, G-d d–n ye”. Their relationship did not improve, and Allen was kept in chains for about six weeks in the bowels of a British warship, the “Gaspee”. On the voyage to Britain, Allen and his men were harshly treated, being denied medical treatment and food and water, and constantly threatened and abused; E. Allen, A Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen’s Captivity, from the time of his being taken by the British, near Montreal, on the 25th day of September 1775, to his exchange on the sixth day of 1778, containing his voyages and travels & interspersed with political observations written by himself, (Boston, 1845), 34 -35, 44 -45; see also P. Allen, A History of the American Revolution, 2 vols., (Baltimore, 1819), 588 -589; Pell, Ibid, 118 -121; Sparks, Ibid, III, 442; `Letter from General Washington to Maj-Gen. Howe’, 18 December 1775, Historical Manuscript Commission, Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institute of Great Britain, 4 vols., (London, 1904), I, 22.
37 Fitzpatrick, Ibid, VI, 501n; ‘Letter from George Washington to Sir William Howe’, Historical Manuscript Commission, VII, 2n.
38 Fitzpatrick, Ibid, VI, 501n.
39 `Letter from Gen. Sir William Howe to Gen. Washington’, 27 February 1777, Historical Manuscript Commission, Ibid, I, 90; `Letter to the Massachusetts Council’, 28th February 1777, Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, VII, 208.
40 Fitzpatrick, Ibid, VI, 224, 252; Boetner, Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 742 – 745.
41 Fitzpatrick, Ibid, VI, 235 – 236.
42 `Letter from Lt-Col. Campbell to General Sir William Howe’, Scots Magazine, vol.xxxix, (Edinburgh, 1777), 249. News of Archibald Campbell’s treatment gave rise to a controversy in the pages of the Scots Magazine between supporters of the Crown and of the Patriots. “An Old Correspondent”, a supporter of the Patriot side, wrote to a London newspaper in January 1777 (reprinted in the Scots Magazine), “as a justification of the conduct of the Americans” for their treatment of Campbell of Inverneill; `Letter from “Old Correspondent”‘, Scots Magazine, vol.xxxix, (Edinburgh, 1777), 250; see also `Letter from “Old England”‘ (in response to the letter from “Old Correspondent”), Scots Magazine, vol.xxxix, 250-251. The dates of the letters which made up this controversy indicate that Campbell of Inverneill may have been in Concord jail from as early as December 1776.
43 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 25.
44 Britain’s political and military leadership were largely out-manoeuvred by their much sharper Patriot counterparts who, according to the Judge, “were publishing to the world accounts of their great humanity to British prisoners, and the barbarity of the British to theirs. Yet these accounts (false as they were) gained credit, and were believed throughout Europe, because they were publicly and positively asserted as facts, and to the shame of the British Commanders in America, were never contradicted, or at least in a public, authentic, and proper manner”; Jones, History of New York, I, 175.
45 Jones, History of New York, I, 173; Stedman, History of the American War, I, 169; C. Ross (ed.), Correspondence of Charles, First Marquis Cornwallis, 3 Vols., (London, 1859), I, 35n.
46 `Letter from “Old England”‘, Scots Magazine, vol.xxxix, (1777), 250 -251.
47 Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, VII, 208.
48 Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, VII, 211 – 212.
49 Sparks, Ibid, I, 356 -357.
50 Scots Magazine, vol.xxxx, (London, 1778), 251; Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, VIII, 220 – 221, 131 – 133.
51 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 43.
52 Fitzpatrick, Writings of George Washington, XI, 300.
53 Allen, Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen’s Captivity, 124 -125. Following his release, Congress made Allen a Colonel in the regular Continental Army, but he never held battlefield command again. Indeed, his reputation as a hero of the Revolution was later somewhat tarnished by the Patriots’ suspicion that he was involved in negotiating a separate peace between Britain and his beloved Vermont.
54 Sparks, Ibid, II, 122 -123.
55 Metzger, The Prisoner in the American Revolution, 175; for further evidence of Boudinot’s unease over Campbell of Inverneill’s treatment of Campbell see Letter from Elias Boudinot, Commissary General of Prisoners, to Hetman Allen, 30th September 1777, Historical Manuscript Commission, Ibid, I, 136.
56 Stedman, History of the American War, II, 41 – 42. A delay in transporting Campbell’s troops, and the alarm being raised amongst the Privateers, enabled the latter to escape from New Tappan. In the meantime, the British column under Major General Grey successfully routed the Patriot force at Old Tappan, but this victory was marred by allegations that Grey had issued an order to give “no quarter” to the Patriots; Boetner, Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 1085 – 1086.
57 Annual Register, 1779, (London, 1780), 29; see also the Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (Edinburgh, 1781), 121, and W. M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms – A Military History of the American Revolution, (New York, 1951), 204.
58 Annual Register, (1779), 30; Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (1781), 122; see also Stedman, History of the American War, II, 66; P. Allen, A History of the American Revolution, 2 vols., (Baltimore, 1809), II, 215; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ibid, I, 323.
59 Boetner, Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 980.
60 Annual Register, (1779), 30; Scots Magazine, vol. xxxx, (December, 1778), 667; Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ibid, I, 323; Allen, History of the American Revolution, II, 215.
61 Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (1781), 122.
62 `Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell to Sir Henry Clinton’ dated 16 February 1779 (“Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatchî), quoted in Louis des Cognets, Jr., Black Sheep and Heroes of the American Revolution, (privately published, Princeton, 1965), 145.
63 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 146.
64 Annual Register, (1779), 32;`Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 146; Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (1781) 123 – 124.
65 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 147.
66 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 147; Stedman, History of the American War, II, 70 -71.
67 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 147; Annual Register, (1779), 33.
68 Annual Register, (1779), 34.
69 Scots Magazine, vol.xxxxiii, (1781), 125.
70 Hibbert, Ibid, 240 ñ 241.
71 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 53.
72 Walcott, Ibid, 53.
73 B. Barrs, East Florida in the American Revolution, (Jacksonville Florida, 1932), 2. This source also contains an account of Howe’s subsequent military career.
74 Stedman, History of the American War, II, 70 -72.
75 Stedman, History of the American War, II, 104 -105.
76 Coleman, American Revolution in Georgia, 122.
77 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 149.
78 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 150.
79 Fitzpatrick, Ibid, XIV, 266; Stedman, History of the American War, II, 108.
80 J. R. Alden, The American Revolution, 1775 – 1783, (New York, 1954), 228; K. Coleman, The American Revolution in Georgia, (Athens Georgia, 1958), 121 – 125; E. E. Curtis, The Organisation of the British Army in the American Revolution, (New York and London, 1926), 114 -115.
81 `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 149
82 This account of Campbell of Inverneill’s retreat from Augusta, and of his relinquishing command is based on `Campbell of Inverneill’s Dispatch’, Ibid, 150 – 151.
83 Annual Register, (1779), 34; Boetner, Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 980.
84 Annual Register, (1779), 35. One account published in 1819 suggests that the British “bayonetted many of the defenceless inhabitants [of Savannah], who were trying to make their escape; Allen, History of the American Revolution, II, 217 -218. This allegation, however, does not appear to be supported by other contemporary sources which generally refer to Campbell of Inverneill’s success in protecting the civilian population. Furthermore, Allen appears to contradict himself by his later assertion that “…to the honour of Colonel Campbell it must be mentioned that his conduct to the inhabitants of Savannah and the neighbouring country, was very different from that of most of the British commanders in our captured towns. Immediately after entering the town he issued a proclamation, encouraging the inhabitants to come in and offer their submission, and promising them protection on condition of their submitting to the royal government. He restrained the soldiers from every species of oppression and depredation, and by his mild and prudent policy, for a time, silenced all republican opposition”; II, 219; Harper’s Encyclopedia of United States History, 10 vols., II, (New York, London, 1902), 39.
85 Hibbert, Ibid, 272; for further details of the vicious campaign in the south see, for example Alden, History of the American Revolution, 410; Coleman, American Revolution in Georgia, 123; and R. Hargreaves, The Bloody Backs: The British Servicemen in North America and the Caribbean, 1655 – 1783, (London, 1968), 326; Stedman, who fought on the British side, in his History of the American War, is quite explicit in blaming both sides for the atrocities committed during the war in the south, II, 66 -68.
86 Alexander Garden, Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America with Sketches of Character, (Charleston, 1822), 277 – 278; J. Johnson MD, Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South, (Charleston, 1851).
87 Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ibid, I, 340; L. des Cognets, Ibid, 151; Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 53. The Dictionary of National Biography refers to Campbell and Prevost falling out over the recruitment of Loyalist militia units; III, 795.
88 NSA, VII, Argyll, 635.
89 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 54; Ross, Cornwallis Correspondence, I, 225, 284, 322, 406-407.
90 Campbell, Records of Clan Campbell, 29; Dictionary of National Biography, III, 795. 91 NSA, VII, Argyll, 635.
92 Dictionary of National Biography, III, 795.
93 Dictionary of National Biography, III, 794 – 795; Boetner, Biographical Dictionary of the American War of Independence, 170 -171.
94 Lady Campbell accompanied her husband to India, and both were heavily involved in the efforts to establish a school for the orphans of native soldiers who had died in the East India Company’s service; Rev. F. Penny, The Church in Madras, 3 vols., (London, 1904), I, 508 – 515. For further details of Sir Archibald Campbell’s career in India see, for example, Lt. Col. W. J. Wilson, History of the Madras Army, 4 Vols., (Madras, 1882), II, 142 – 146; W. Hickey, The Tanjore Mahratta Principality in Southern India: The Land of the Chola; The Eden of the South, (Madras, 1873); P. Quennell (ed.), Memoirs of William Hickey, (London, 1960); Ross, Cornwallis Correspondence, I, 225, 284, 322, 406 – 407.
95 Dictionary of National Biography, III, 795.
96 Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 56.
97 Ross, Cornwallis Correspondence, I , 406 – 407.
98 Dictionary of National Biography, III, 795; Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 55.
99 Campbell, Records of Clan Campbell, 29.
100 SRO, British Fisheries Society Papers, GD9/1/250-3
101 Dictionary of National Biography, III, 795.
102 NSA, VII, Argyll, 635; Walcott, Sir Archibald Campbell of Inverneill, 61.
THE AMERICAN WAR OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL CAMPBELL OF INVERNEILL
ROBERT A. MCGEACHY 2001 c
I would like to dedicate this article to Mrs Lavinia Albin, Oban. I would also like to thank Dr J. D. Young, Polmont, Scotland, for his generous support and assistance over the years, and Mary Dinsdale, Edinburgh, Scotland, and Peter Payne, Aberdeen, Scotland, for their considerable encouragement which is much appreciated. I am also very grateful to the staff of the British Library, London, and to the staff of the Scottish Records Office, Edinburgh, for their assistance in providing me with many of the materials referred to in this article. I would also like to thank Tim Healy for all his IT support, which is much appreciated.