During Georgia's forty-three-year history as a British possession, the militia (a reserve made up of every man in the colony from ages sixteen to sixty) and the provincial military units, or Rangers (a full-time, paid force recruited from the ranks of the militia), provided the buffer between settlers and the enemies of the British government: southeastern Indians, including Choctaws, Creeks, and Cherokees; French colonists in New France; and settlers in Spanish Florida.
In 1754 Georgia officially became a royal colony under Governor John Reynolds. Reynolds and his successor, Henry Ellis, increased British efforts to improve the frontier military. Since the militia was derived from the entire male population of the colony and had officers commissioned by the colonial governor, this force required strict management to be effective. Reynolds approved the Militia Act of 1755, which established rules for the administration of the primary colonial military force.
In the late 1750s Ellis revived the Ranger companies originally organized by Oglethorpe and employed
During the French and Indian War (1754-63), the British government built five military fortifications to defend coastal Georgia from the threat of French and Spanish naval attack. In 1763 King George III sent three companies of the Sixtieth Regiment of Foot to shore up these garrisons. By the mid-1760s, unpopular British taxing policies were taking their toll on colonial allegiance to the British crown. In 1766 Wright personally led the Rangers against a revolt by the Sons of Liberty, a group of colonists angered by the Stamp Act. Wright's successful use of provincial troops to put down the revolt demonstrated to the colonists that they needed to gain influence over local military units if they were successfully to resist British policy.
Edward J. Cashin, The King's Ranger: Thomas Brown and the American Revolution on the Southern Frontier (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1989).
James M. Johnson, Militiamen, Rangers, and Redcoats: The Military in Georgia, 1754-1776 (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1992).
John Shy, Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965).
Barton Myers, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
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