The early French Wars (1689-1748) in North America saw provincial soldiers, or British white settlers, in Massachusetts and New Hampshire fight against New France and her Native American allies with minimal involvement from England. Most British officers and government officials viewed the colonial soldiers as ill-disciplined, unprofessional, and incompetent: General John Forbes called them “a gathering from the scum of the worst people.”
Taking issue with historians who have criticized provincial soldiers’ battlefield style, strategy, and conduct, Steven Eames demonstrates that what developed in early New England was in fact a unique way of war that selectively blended elements of European military strategy, frontier fighting, and native American warfare. This new form of warfare responded to and influenced the particular challenges, terrain, and demography of early New England. Drawing upon a wealth of primary materials on King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, Dummer’s War, and King George’s War, Eames offers a bottom-up view of how war was conducted and how war was experienced in this particular period and place. Throughout Rustic Warriors, he uses early New England culture as a staging ground from which to better understand the ways in which New Englanders waged war, as well as to provide a fuller picture of the differences between provincial, French, and Native American approaches to war.