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His Majesty's Royal West India Rangers

Sixty-Two New Brunswick Soldier-settlers and their families listed

Were the Royal West India Rangers in the War of 1812?

Have you found muster rolls (or other material) for your ancestor that confirms his presence on the Georgia Coast in 1815?

A group of War of 1812 re-enactors want to form a modern-day Royal West India Rangers unit, but they want to confirm a War of 1812 connection first. Can you help them?

"Several colleagues and I are contemplating forming a historical reenactment group that depicts the RWIR. We're all current War of 1812 reenactors, but are looking to do something different. We've hit upon the RWIR, not only because it was a very unique regiment, but also because it has both a War of 1812 and Canadian connection owing to its service along the Georgia Coast in 1815, and the eventual settlement of a number of personnel in NB. While we ourselves are from Ontario, where the RWIR obviously never served, the reenactment hobby is permeated with North Americans depicting French Imperial Guardsmen, Russian Cossacks and so-on. So we don't feel we’re going too far out on a limb, particularly since several ex-RWIR served in Upper Canada during the war, and the whole point of forming the group would be to explore and highlight a forgotten aspect of the War of 1812 – the connection to the wider Napoleonic wars through the Caribbean.

"Our particular bugbear, however, is that only a small portion of the RWIR may have served in Georgia, and there's very little written on their involvement in that campaign. No semi-contemporary accounts make mention of their having been in any of the engagements, while modern works (eg. by Rene Chartrand) indicate the RWIR were present, but give no further details. If they were present, we also have no idea which part of the regiment was there – the RWIR was a light infantry regiment with two specialist sharpshooter companies armed with rifles rather than muskets. While it makes tactical sense that the sharpshooters would have been dispatched on a raid such as took place in Georgia, the raids were somewhat hodge-podge affairs, and it's equally probable that some of the regular musket-carrying companies might have been ordered to participate instead of the elite sharpshooters, there being more of the former available.

"Essentially my colleagues and I are trying to establish whether the RWIR were present in the Georgia raids, and if so, which companies were part of the detachment that may have participated. We'd hate to do our preliminary research and acquire the necessary uniforms, only to find out that either the regiment wasn't involved in the campaign, or that we've outfitted ourselves with the wrong weapons and equipment. One War of 1812 group here in Ontario went to great lengths to depict a specific company of a particular regiment that was considered an elite fighting unit, only to find out subsequently that the company in question never saw combat and sat in garrison away from the fighting for the entire war, thus rendering their efforts somewhat nullified. My colleagues and I are hoping to avoid similar embarrassment.

"Ultimately, having read through the material on your website, I'm curious to know if you yourself have come across any information regarding the RWIR and the Georgia campaign in the course of your research? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!"

Please e mail any information you have to mori underscore hillman@hotmail dot com and we will pass it along. Thanks!