Revolutions do not start with a big bang, they are like a kettle of
water slowly simmering on the stove until with increased heat it
suddenly boils over. That is exactly what happened with the American
Revolution, everybody saw it coming, except the British, they were
utterly unprepared when finally the boiling point was reached. when the
conflict started there was hardly any British military power in place in
the American colonies. The few British troops stationed at Boston and
New York saw themselves vastly outnumbered and in March of 1776 fled to
the safe harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia, leaving all the existing
British colonies in the hands of the rebels, except of Nova Scotia,
which at the time included the territory of New Brunswick, and the
Province of Quebec.
The American revolutionaries, encouraged by their initial successes,
invaded Canada in September of 1775 under the pretext to liberate their
northerly neighbours from the tyranny of the British king. In December
they had captured the City of Montreal, and advanced to the fortress of
Quebec City. Only the determined defence put up by Governor Guy Carleton
and his small army deprived the attackers of final success. Quebec held
out against all attacks until spring of 1776, when a British fleet
arrived with a large army of British and German troops.
The German troops had been hired by King George III to help to
suppress the American revolution. All through the previous winter
negotiations had taken place between the King's emissaries and some
German princes to supply a substantial number of well trained troops to
serve in America. In fact, some of the princes recognizing Britain's
need for additional troops, had offered them to King George III, and
after due discussions in the British parliament, treaties were signed
with six individual princes to supply 20,000 men to be shipped
immediately to Canada and America.
The events of the American Revolution are well known, and I do not
want to repeat them here. Fact remains that of close to 30,000 German
soldiers who served between 1776 and 1783 loyally for King George III in
America, appr. 7,500 soldiers and officers lost their life in battle or
through sickness and accidents, and another 6,000 men more or less, did
not return home when the war ended. Of those 6,000, an accurate figure
is impossible to establish, it is estimated that some 2,400 men wanted
to stay under British rule in Canada, while the other 3,600 became new
citizens of the United States of America.
There were many reasons for those soldiers to stay, one of them
without doubt the fear of a long and dreadful sea voyage on little
crowded sailing ships, but the most important reasons were the
opportunity for a better life and freedom from oppression, and the
promise of free land from the government. Many had already established
good contacts with the local population and found companionship.
Particularly in Quebec the churches registered a great number of
marriages between German soldiers and French-Canadian brides.
Here is a breakdown of the number of men supplied to England during
the American Revolution by the six German principalities (acc to Edward
J. Lowell - The Hessians)