Burt Garfield Loescher (1917-2006) is known to have been one of the early experts on Rogers’ Rangers and the American French and Indian War. He published several volumes relating to Robert Rogers, his Rangers, and the history of that period. 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. He was also known for his miniature soldiers and his research into military uniforms.
In his teen years, historian Francis Parkman’s Montcalm and Wolfe and Kenneth Roberts‘s novel Northwest Passage stimulated his interest in the French and Indian War and specifically in the story of Robert Rogers and Rogers’ Rangers. As early as 1940 he had begun his historical research into the history of Rogers’ Rangers, and this interest continued to be a lifelong passion.
Burt published four extensively researched books on Major Robert Rogers and his Ranger units in the French and Indian War and its aftermath. 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 Robert’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 Roger’s 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 Notes, appendices, maps, and literary commentary ware also included in the manuscript of the unpublished Explorers and Discovers book.
Researchers studying Colonial American military history will find much unpublished information in these manuscripts; Loescher himself suggested the roster of privates will aid genealogists, particularly those interested in early New England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.
In 2004 his son, David A. Loescher (1938-2016) gifted the collection to the Ticonderoga Historical Society.
Sergeant Beaubien, (Gift – Framed Illustration) – Oil Painting by John Buxton – THS Print Collection. “A group of Rogers Rangers are located on ground overlooking Lake George, NY which stretches Northward behind them. Captain Robert Rogers’ men scout deeply within enemy territory supplying the latest intelligence of French activity and their daring hit-and-run tactics not only delivered great annoyance to the enemy but also boosted English Spirits.
Experience Ranger lieutenants are briefing several new cadets and a volunteer from the 42nd Highlanders, as to the basic rules outlined by Capt. Rogers – rules still employed by Ranger forces today. Among the Ranger “cadets” in the fall of 1756 is William Stark, brother of Ranger Captain John Stark, with his wolf/dog Sergeant Beaubien. At one point throughout their history, Stark entered the wolf/dog into the official Ranger muster roll to draw a Sergeant’s rations and pay. It has been said that Sergeant Beaubien dispatched his share of the enemy and was well deserving of his pay.” From painting information.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society received a $10,000 grant from the Northern New York Library Network to research the documents and other material in its Loescher Collection to compile a list of unpublished Roger’s Ranger NCOs.
Excerpts form the Society’s public notice announcement:
“The Loescher Collection is one of our most valuable holdings….”
“The results of this grant will be of great benefit to scholars, military historians and genealogists…”
“The collection offers a truly comprehensive look at Rogers’ Rangers, and includes original research, unpublished manuscripts, works of art, even a collection of highly detailed miniatures…”
“…the grant will allow rosters of enlisted men who served with Rogers to be available online through the New York Heritage website”
“..Robert Rogers has been the subject of numerous books and articles, information on individual rank-and-file soldiers has been scarce.”
“March of Rogers’ Rangers Frederick Remington Circa 1898
Want to learn more? The following related THS Web-page articles may be accessed:
Robert Rogers’ and the French and Indian War – Burt Garfield Loescher — published April 19, 2013
A Battle on Snowshoes — published January 11, 2015
Legends of Forest Denizens – published January 3, 2016
Rogers’ Rangers Digitization Grant Award — published October 15, 2016
Major Robert Rogers, Trader — March 12, 2017
The Northern New York Library Network is a regional library agency dedicated to providing support and services to its member libraries, of which the Ticonderoga Historical Society is a member. The digital list is published on the Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) – New York Heritage digital collection.
Update on our missing historical marker.
Sometime during August 2016 this historical marker was stolen from its pole near the entrance into Ticonderoga’s Golf Club. We used the Society’s Web Page and social media to seek public assistance in locating the marker, and hopefully, have it return to us. Our appeal generated a great response – nearly 18 thousand “responses” via FACEBOOK alone!
Replacing this style of historical markers is expensive. Our appeal included a request for donations, which amounted to the exactly one in the amount of $17.57! Very recently, we did receive one more in the amount of $250. Last year we had an opportunity to write a grant for a replacement marker with the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. The Foundation In reviewing the submitted historical marker applications received two request for Rangers’ activity on January 21, 1757. One from the Society and the second from the Town of Crown Point Historian. As the Ranger action began in Crown Point in the morning and continued through-out the day ending here in Ticonderoga. In a mutual agreement the two towns will relate the Ranger’s day activity in a revised text from the original.
We still have an interest in the return of this historical marker. Any information will be welcomed.
Not a member of the Ticonderoga Historical Society? We invite you to become one.