Oliver DeLancey
DeLancey's Brigade 1776 - 1783




Oliver DeLancey was a prominent New Yorker whose family had been one of influence in the colonies for many years. An open and dedicated supporter of King George III, DeLancey was commissioned as a Brigadier-General of the Royal Provincial Forces on the 21st of September, 1776. He would eventually become the senior Loyalist Officer of the British Army.

Drawing upon his considerable personal wealth, DeLancey raised and equipped three battalions consisting of 1500 loyalist volunteers from New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Fairfield Counties to form the famous DeLancey's Brigade.

Garrisoned in the New York area the DeLancey's guarded supply wagons, formed foraging parties, acted as a New York City police force and took part in numerous skirmishes within this area.

In 1779 the first two battalions of DeLancey's were sent to Florida to join in the Southern Campaigns. In the siege of Savannah they distinguished themselves by successfully resisting the rebel siege of Fort Ninety-Six. The 3rd Battalion remained around New York City defending the loyal inhabitants at Setauket and Fort Franklin on Long Island from rebel raiding parties attacking in whale boats from Connecticut.

After suffering significant losses in the Southern Campaign, the 1st and 2nd Battalions were combined into a renewed 1st Battalion in 1782. The 3rd Battalion, under the command of Colonel Gabriel Ludlow (Saint John's first Mayor), then became the 2nd Battalion.

The uniform of DeLancey's Brigade in 1783 was a red wool regimental coat with dark blue facings, white wool breeches and waistcoats, black cocked hats and donation cloth leggings. This is the uniform recreated by the re-enactment unit in Saint John. Earlier in the war DeLancey's, like many of the Loyalist units, wore a green uniform.

At the war's end in 1783, the men of DeLancey's were among the thousands of Loyalists evacuated, along with their families, to the mouth of the St. John River. In reward for their loyalty and service the men were granted land along the St. John River, mainly in the area around modern day Woodstock, NB. Some properties in the area are still owned by descendants of these loyal soldiers today. During this mass relocation, one shipload of these families was tragically lost. The Martha went down off the coast of Nova Scotia, some say within sight of the refugees' new home.


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