Introduction to Quintin Kennedy

Quintin Kennedy in Indian garg at the Lake George Tactical

Quintin Kennedy provides a perfect persona to command the British forces at the Lake George Tactical.  He never had his own company; rather he was assigned to lead detachments made up of men from various units for specific missions.  He had a good relationship with the Rangers and the Indians, adopting the dress and culture of both, as well as the respect and trust of his leaders.

I have been going to the Lake George Tactical, the premier “total immersion” F&I event, for more than 10 years and typically as a Ranger private.  My first years were as part of Shirley’s Fifth under the command of Captain Nehemiah Floyd and later on with Rogers Rangers under Mike Fitzgerald.  In 2003, I filled in to act as the British Commander.  Although my knowledge of the area and experience fighting there provided the required competencies, I really did not have a viable persona for the role.

During a discussion about his book, Redcoats, Stephen Brumwell made several references to a Quintin Kennedy, including characterizing Kennedy as “a minor league Robert Rogers.”  I was instantly drawn to the concept of portraying a British officer temporarily assigned to learn “bush fighting” from the rangers.  This would prove to be the perfect solution to the persona problem I had, as Kennedy was regularly given command of various detachments to go on scalping parties, act as a scout, and to deliver important messages.

I bought the book, along with many more, and started learning all I could about Quintin Kennedy.  What follows is a very brief summary of that information as it applies to the French and Indian war. 

A Short Biography of Quintin Kennedy

Quintin Kennedy was an Ulster Scot who came to Virginia in the spring of ‘55 as an ensign in the 44th as part of Braddock’s army.  He was promoted to Leutenant just before Braddock’s defeat.  Also, he was wounded while fighting with Braddock. 
Subsequently he was sent by Bouquet to “learn bush fighting” from the Rangers.  In ’56 he was leading patrols from places like Fort Edward and began to develop a reputation:

In August 1756, this young veteran of Braddock’s defeat led 40 regulars and Mohawks from Fort Edward, bound for Canada on a ‘scalping party’.  After six weeks in the wilderness, Kennedy’s patrol returned with two prisoners and valuable intelligence.  … When the party finally arrived back at Fort Edward they were barely alive.  Loudon had never seen ‘People so thoroughly wore out.’

He was commissioned a captain on December 27, 1757 and continued to perform dangerous tasks for the likes of Abercrombie and Amherst, including delivering a message to Wolfe, under the guise of negotiating peace with the Abenakis.  It was Kennedy’s being taken prisoner that finally triggered Amherst to authorize Rogers to attack St. Francis.  Kennedy was released as part of a prisoner exchange once Wolfe was killed:

… when Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, learned that Kennedy was closely related to General Murray (Wolfe’s successor after his death), he released then from the prison ship and placed them on parole.  From then until their exchange on November 15, 1759, Kennedy and Hamilton were treated as officers and gentlemen at the Batiscan camp east of Three Rivers.

Once back from Canada, he worked with Gage’s 80th Light Infantry Regiment before heading south were he fought with Grant against the Indians, primarily the Cherokees in the Carolinas:

The Indian Corps’ commanded by Captain Quintin Kennedy flanked the column and scouted ahead of it’s advanced guard; on 10 June 1761, it was this formation that detected a Cherokee ambush.

He again asked for help from Amherst, who sent Colonel James Grant back to Carolina with twelve hundred British troops in January 1761. Grant had served under Montgomery. [96] [BH] [O] In his command was a company of Mohawks and Stockbridge Indians led by Captain Quintin Kennedy

Quintin Kennedy – References

March 27, 1755, Camp at Alexandria, PA
R[egimental] : O[rders] : The Sergts and Corpls to be out in the Front of the Camp with Arms & Accoutrements. 
            For the Two Buard _____________ Ensn Kennedy
Halkett’s Orderly Book: Braddock’s Defeat, p. 69.

June 14, 1755, Fort Cumberland, PA

His Excellency Genl Braddock has been pleas’d to Appoint Ensigns Daniel Disney Quintan Kennedy Robert Drumond to be Lieutenants in Sir Peter Halkett’s Regt of foot…  Halkett’s Orderly Book: Braddock’s Defeat, pp. 107-108.

June 17, Little Meadows, PA
For the Detachment on Thursday Capts: Saml: Hobson Tehings Lts Halkett Bayly Pottinger Simposon Lock Kennedy Townshend Enss: Nartlo[w] Pennington Preston of the 44th: … Halkett’s Orderly Book (Braddock’s Defeat), pp. 110.

July 9, 1755, the road to Fort Duquesne
do: Quintan Kennedy             w (wounded). 

The Journal of a British Officer (Braddock’s Defeat), p. 55.

September 1755, Acadia (Nova Scotia) - probably not the same Kennedy
On the next day, Sunday, Winslow and the Doctor, whose names was Whitworth, made the tour of the neighborhood, with an escort of fifty men, and found a great quantity of wheat still on the fields.  On Tuesday Winslow “set out in a whale-boat with Dr. Whitworth and Adjutant Kennedy, to consult with Captain Murray in this critical conjuncture.”  Parkman, Montcalm and Wolf, p. 137.

August 1756, Fort Edward, NY

A limited number of redcoats did gain a closer acquaintance with wilderness warfare by serving as volunteers alongside the Indians or rangers.  Such soldiers included Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy, of the 44th Foot.  In August 1756, this young veteran of Braddock’s defeat led 40 regulars and Mohawks from Fort Edward, bound for Canada on a scalping party’. After six weeks in the wilderness, Kennedy’s patrol returned with two prisoners and valuable intelligence.  The raid had proved both grueling and hazardous.  For five days the detachment was dogged by a large body of Indians:  forced to jettison their provisions, Kennedy’s men were so famished that they contemplated eating one of their captives.  When the party finally arrived back at Fort Edward they were barely alive.  Louden had never seen “People so thoroughly wore out.”  The fame of Kennedy’s exploits soon spanned the Atlantic.  One journal informed its readers:

"Lieut. Kennedy has married an Indian squaw, whose tribe had made him a king.  Gen Abercrombie gave him a party of highlanders joined with a party of Indians to go a-Scalping, in which he had some success.  He has learned the language, paints [himself] and dresses like an Indian, and it is thought will be of service by his new alliance.  His wife goes with him, and carries his provisions on her back.”

Redcoats, p. 212; referencing The London Gazette No. 9505 (23 to 26 August), Hervey’s Journals pp. 40-41; Military Affairs in North America p. 242, and Scots Magazine 1756 (November), p. 559.

August 1759, Crown Point

Amherst…sent Captains Kennedy and Hamilton with a flag of truce and a message of peace to the Abenakis of St. Francis, who, he thought, won over by these advances, might permit the two officers to pass unmolested to Quebec.  But the Abenakis seized them and carried them prisoners to Montreal; on which Amherst sent Major Robert Rogers and a band of rangers to destroy their town.  Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe (Random House 1999), p.383.

Thus were we employed till the 12th of September, when the General, exasperated at the treatment which Capt. Kennedy had met with, who had been sent with a party as a flag of truce to the St. Francis Indians, with proposals of peace to them, and was by them made a prisoner with his whole party; this ungenerous inhumae treatment determined the General to chastise these savages with some severity, and, in order to it, I received from him the following orders, viz The Journals of Major Robert Rogers, Dresslar Publishing 1997, p.131.