Collection Facts

3 items
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Historical Context

Burt Loescher (1917-2006) published four extensively researched books on Major Robert Rogers and his Ranger units in the French and Indian War and its aftermath. Rogers and his Rangers have been identified as the American Colonial Era’s precursors to the special operation units of today’s U.S. military.
These included a two-volume history of the Rangers covering the years 1755 through 1783, a heavily annotated roster of officers and non-commissioned officers, and a lengthy account of Rogers’ 1759 St. Francis Raid popularized in Kenneth Roberts’s 1937 historical novel Northwest Passage and the 1940 major motion picture based on it.

Loescher also compiled a roster of privates who served in Ranger units, including African-Americans and a large contingent of Native-Americans. This was not published in his Volume III with their officers and NCOs. Information included for these individuals features the names of the company in which each served and their period of service. In many cases, additional information is included with details of such service.

Loescher also wrote eight chapters for a projected book entitled Rogers’ Rangers: Explorers and Discoverers. These include significant events in the French and Indian War and the years following it, including Rogers’ first expedition to Detroit and his efforts to discover the “Northwest Passage”, a water route from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.

Loescher added listings of officers to his privates’ roster who served in Loyalist Ranger units raised and initially commanded by Rogers in the American Revolution. Notes, appendices, maps, and literary commentary are also included in the manuscript of the unpublished Explorers and Discovers book.
Researchers studying Colonial American military history will find much previously unpublished information in these manuscripts; Loescher himself suggested the roster of privates will aid genealogists, particularly those interested in early New England and New York.

Scope of Collection

Burt Loescher Collection on Rogers' Rangers in the French and Indian War consists of 'Rogers Rangers Privates Roster, 1755-1761' as well as 'Rogers Rangers: The Explorers & Discoverers, with Illustrations & Maps' (unpublished book manuscript).