by Walter T. Dornfest
Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010. Pp. viii,516.
Append., notes., biblio., index. $125.00 paper. ISBN: 0786448156
Although the proportion is likely exaggerated, it has traditionally been believed that about a third of the people of the Thirteen Colonies during the Revolutionary War were “Tories”. But while Loyalists gave enormous support to the Crown during the war, they have not been the subject of much serious study.
In Military Loyalists of the American Revolution Prof. Dornfest (emeritus, CUNY Staten I) gives us a detailed work that is both biographical dictionary of literally thousands of officers who served in Loyalist units during the Revolutionary War, and an impressive catalog of hundreds of such units. Officer entries include rank, service, and unit, plus a reference, and many also have years of birth and death, background details, anecdotal items, and so forth. Entries for the units are similar, but first divided into Loyalist units organized by the Crown and those organized by local volunteers, the latter on a colony-by-colony basis. Coverage includes the Thirteen Colonies, outlying districts such as the Ohio Country and the Indian territories, and even the “other” colonies, Canada, the Floridas, the West Indies, and elsewhere.
This makes Military Loyalists of the American Revolution both unusual and invaluable for anyone working on the American Revolution.