Freemen, Freeholders, and Citizen Soldiers: An Organizational History of Colonel Jonathan Bagley's Regiment, 1755-1760


“In the morning they fought like good boys, about noon like men, and in the afternoon like devils.” So said the Baron Dieskau, Commandant of the French forces, as he lay mortally wounded after the Battle of Lake George in 1755. He was referring to his enemy, the English provincial army. During this important battle of the French and Indian War for control of the area around Crown Point and Ticonderoga, New York, Lt. Col. Jonathan Bagley’s regiment of Massachusetts provincials decisively held their own against multiple thrusts from the French. Bagley’s men fought with great valor and helped win the only English victory in North America in 1755. Bagley later became a colonel and was put in charge of Fort Edward and the construction of Fort William Henry. His Massachusetts regiment consisted of a great many carpenters and boat builders from Amesbury, Newbury and a few small towns outside of Boston. The author discusses how factors such as the blood ties among the men and the influence of religion formed the unique character of this regiment. This volume provides a comprehensive background of Bagley’s regiment, including recruitment, demographics and wages. Uniforms, gear and equipment for each year from 1755 to 1760 are described in detail. Every aspect of daily life is chronicled, including carpentry and labor, training, drill and exercise, and physical ailments and treatments. Even the soldiers’ rations are listed here, complete with a nutritional analysis and calorie count of their diet! The outstanding feature of this work is an original transcription of Bagley’s orderly book of 1758.

This volume will enhance historical research of the period with its appendices and tables which illustrate the range of ages of the soldiers in Bagley’s Regiment, a facsimile officer’s commission, a facsimile of impressment orders, demographic and service information in the command structure of Bagley’s regiment and a colonial listing of wages, including modern money equivalencies. Maps display the southern battle theater of 1755–1758, the northern battle theater of 1759–1760, and the areas of significant residency of the men in Bagley’s regiment at recruiting, 1756. Accurately rendered drawings by noted artist Joe Lee depict the clothing and equipment used by the provincials and the Indians. The index lists names, places and events.

Brenton C. Kemmer, B.S.E.D., M.A.

(1997, 2004), 2011, 5½x8½, paper, index, 138 pp.

ISBN: 9780788406201