Born: December 25, 1737, Jamaica
Died: June 3, 1807 London, England
Buried: London, England
At Ninety Six
● 43 years old
● Early August 1780: Became Loyalist commander at Ninety Six.
● Fall 1780: Fortified Town & Stockade.
● December 1780- Early 1781: Had Star Fort built.
May 22- June 19, 1781
● Commander of about 550 Loyalists from New York, New Jersey, & South Carolina.
● June 3: Refused to surrender to Greene.
● June 13: Learned that British reinforcements were coming.
● June 21- Early July 1781: Burned town of Ninety Six, destroyed supplies, and then left Ninety Six to the backcountry Patriots.
There are no recognized paintings of Cruger. This painting was done from paintings and pictures of Cruger's known relatives. Cruger's red coat signifies his allegiance to the British/ Loyalist side of the Revolutionary War.
John Harris Cruger
Commander, First Battalion of DeLancey’s Brigade, Loyalist (1776-1783)
John Harris Cruger was born on 25 December 1737 in Jamaica.[i] He came from an important merchant family in New York. They owned trading centers in Bristol, England, and throughout the West Indies. We have little information on Cruger’s childhood. He probably went to King’s College, which is now called Columbia University, where his father and uncle were founding governors.[ii] Cruger was the oldest of four brothers and two sisters. During 1765, he was in Jamaica, managing the shipment of rum, molasses, and sugar to New York.[iii] By 1771, Cruger had returned to New York City. Later that year, he became a governor of King’s College.[iv]
A Grueling Combat History
Cruger had no previous military experience. Even so, he was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel. He took command of the First Battalion in his father-in-law’s Loyalist brigade. Cruger helped defend Long Island.[vii] He also was responsible for the construction and garrisoning of a fort at the town of Huntington.[viii]
Cruger returned to New York in the summer of 1782.[xii] He arranged for the settlement of many of the First Battalion’s officers and soldiers at Woodstock, New Brunswick.[xiii] Cruger lost lost his New York properties under the Confiscation Act of 1779 and had most of his possessions auctioned off. Cruger sailed to England in the summer of 1783.
A Courageous Partner
In December 1762, Cruger married Anne DeLancey. She would undergo trials that rival those of her husband.[xvii] While staying at her father’s home in November 1777, Anne, her mother, and her sister had to flee from a rebel raiding party that plundered and burned the house. When sailing to Savannah in October 1779 to join Cruger, Anne’s ship was damaged in a storm. She was rescued by a French man of war and became a guest of the French admiral, the Comte d’Estaing, for the duration of the siege of that city.
[i] Cruger, Douglas Wright; “A Genealogical and Biographical History of the Cruger Families in America,” p. 9, 1988 (from wvancestry.com: accessed 26 January 2021); "Partner Trees: MyTrees.com," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/2:2:QWK6-W4S : accessed 4 February 2021)
[ii] https://columbiaandslavery.columbia.edu/content/4-watts-crugers-and-others: accessed on 25 January 2021
[iii] Cruger, p. 13
[iv] https://columbiaandslavery.columbia.edu/content/4-watts-crugers-and-others: accessed 25 January 2021
[v] Cruger, p. 13; Bolton, Robert; “The History of Several Towns, Manors, and Patents of the County of Westchester, Volume 1 (revised),” 1881; p. 182
[vi] Jones, Thomas; “History of New York During the Revolutionary War,” 1879; pp. 108-109
[vii] Orderly book of the three battalions of loyalists commanded by Brigadier-General Oliver De Lancey 1776-1778 : to which is appended a list of New York : Great Britain. Army. Provincial Corps. De Lancey's Volunteers. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive: accessed 1 February 2021
[viii] Thomas, p. 266
[ix] Raymond, W.O.; “Brave Soldier of the Revolution,” Acadiensis, Vol. II, 1902, p. 240
[x] Acadiensis; a quarterly devoted to the interests of the maritime provinces of Canada : Jack, David Russell : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive, p. 241: accessed on 25 January 2021
[xi] https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/07/loyalist-leadership-in-the-revolutionary-south/#_edn11: accessed on 9 February 2021
[xii] https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/3712/images/40939_307348-00165?usePUB=true&_phsrc=dzO8&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=18799: accessed 8 February 2021
http://www.royalprovincial.com/genealogy/settle/lnd1del1.shtml: accessed 22 January 2021 and
[xiv] https://www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/3712/images/40939_307348-00161?treeid=&personid=&rc=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=nBr1&_phstart=successSource&pId=18799, pp. 162-169: accessed 10 February 2021
[xv] https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1754-1790/member/cruger-henry-1739-1827: accessed 10 February 2021
[xvi] Search | British History Online (british-history.ac.uk),vol 12, pt 3, pg 123-136 accessed 8 February 2021
[xvii] https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Henry_Cruger_Family_Bible: accessed 10 February 2021
Last updated: May 2, 2021