During the American Revolution, British light infantry and grenadier battalions figured prominently in almost every battle and campaign. They are routinely mentioned in campaign studies, usually with no context to explain what these battalions were. In an army that employed regiments as the primary deployable assets, the most active battlefield elements were temporary battalions created after the war began and disbanded when it ended. This work is the first operational study of these battalions during the entire war, looking at their creation, evolution and employment from the first day of hostilities through their disbandment at the end of the conflict. It examines how and why these battalions were created, how they were maintained at optimal strength over eight years of war, how they were deployed tactically and managed administratively. Most importantly, it looks at the individual officers and soldiers who served in them. Using first-hand accounts and other primary sources, These Distinguished Corps describes life in the grenadiers and light infantry on a personal level, from Canada to the Caribbean and from barracks to battlefield.
Don N. Hagist is managing editor of Journal of the American Revolution (allthingsliberty.com). His historical studies focus on presenting an accurate picture of individual soldiers and their families, especially those of the British army who served in America. This research is done using exclusively primary sources, including regimental muster rolls, personal accounts, pension records, orderly books, and a wide range of other archival materials. His most recent books, Noble Volunteers: the British Soldiers who fought the American Revolution (Westholme, 2020), The Revolution’s Last Men: The Soldiers behind the Photographs (Westholme, 2015) and These Distinguished Corps: British Grenadier and Light Infantry Battalions in the American Revolution (Helion, 2022), are available from major booksellers. Don is an engineer for a major medical device manufacturer and also writes for several well-known syndicated and freelance cartoonists.