Robert Drummond

c1733 – 1789

I was a soldier who chose loyalty over the prospect of independence.

I was a successful merchant from Essex County who also served as a militia captain. My wife was Jannetje Vrelandt, known as Jane. During the spring of 1776, my company built fortifications in Brooklyn in anticipation of the British invasion to come that summer. But then, when the Declaration of Independence was signed, I read it and thought that fighting for a redress of our grievances was one thing, but fighting for independence was quite another.

So I switched sides. During the fall of Fort Lee, when Patriot soldiers were retreating, I slipped through the lines and joined the British army as a Major in the Third Battalion of the New Jersey Volunteers.

In August 1777, after we had raided rebel areas, we were attacked on Staten Island and our colonel was killed. My battalion served in Georgia in 1779, and marched from Savannah to Augusta in 1780. I was captured in September but was exchanged in time to rejoin my battalion at a place called Ninety Six in South Carolina, where we heroically held off a much larger Continental force.

In 1782, there were more actions in South Carolina after the British defeat at Yorktown, but when we heard about a preliminary peace agreement, we all sailed back to New York. When the army evacuated and went home to England, Jane and I went with them. We lived the rest of our lives in London, and I died in 1789.



Learn More
Image Robert Drummond

Related Stories