Mohawk Chief Treated As Royalty

Watercolor portrait of Joseph Brant (Thayendan...
Watercolor portrait of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among the great Indian chiefs who fought for the British was Joseph Brant, whose name is commemorated in some places in Canada, notably Brantford, Ontario.  His dedication to the British cause came about through a spectacular development.

Early in the American Revolutionary War, General Washington sent a column under Benedict Arnold to capture Quebec, while another under General Montgomery moved against Montreal.  One of Montgomery’s officers was Ethan Allen, who led the Green Mountain Boys from New Hampshire.

Allen was impetuous and would not wait for Montgomery’s campaign to develop.  Instead he made a sweep against Montreal with his own Green Mountain Boys.  They arrived at a point across the river from Montreal and sent a message to the city demanding that it sent a message to the city demanding that it surrender at once.  A loyal force led by Major Cardin, who had been one of Wolfe’s officers, crossed the river and engaged Allen at Long Point.  There was sharp fighting on September 25, 1775, in which Cardin was killed, but Allen and eighty of his mountain boys had to surrender.  They were taken to Montreal and Allen was shipped to Britain where he spend two years in prison.

Aboard the same ship was Joseph Brant, a young Mohawk chief, who was invited to visit England by the British garrison in Montreal.  In Britain, Brant was treated as though he were royalty.  He was the honoured guest in every drawing-room of society.  His portrait was painted by Romney, one of the great artists of the day.  The famous biographer, Boswell, became one of his friends.  He was given a remarkable gun for the age; it could fire fifteen shots from a single loading!

When Brant returned to his own country in 1776, he was convinced that no nation could defeat the British, even though the Americans had captured Montreal while he was away.  The Mohawks, members of the Iroquois nations, fought loyally with the British,  although it was a losing cause.

To read more about The Battle of Longue-Pointe, I would suggest a few sites: Real Clear History, and Thinkquest, as well as the History Carper.

And if you prefer to hold a book in your hands, I can also suggest a few. There is Narrative of Col. Ethan Allen’s Captivity, and then Canada and the American Revolution, which is slightly more expensive. There is also Canada Invaded 1775-1776, as well as Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony Volume 1; Canada, and the American Revolution.


  1. “treated as though he were royalty.” Wasn’t he actually royalty if he was a chief? How does that work if a part of the Empire had it’s own royalty in place?



    • Thanks, Opalla, for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated! I know you follow my blog, pretty much on a daily basis, so I hope I’ll keep your interest going! 🙂


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