James Robertson (British Army officer)

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James Robertson
40th Colonial Governor of New York
In office
1780 – 17 April 1783
Preceded by William Tryon
Succeeded by Andrew Elliot
Personal details
Born 1717
Fife, Scotland
Died 4 March 1788
Military service
Service/branch British Army
Rank Lieutenant general
Battles/wars French and Indian War

American Revolutionary War

General James Robertson (1717 – 4 March 1788) was the civil governor of the Province of New York from 1779 to 1783.[1][2]


He was born in Newbigging, Fife, Scotland in 1717.[3] He came to the American colonies in 1756 as a Major of the royal American troops. He became a lieutenant colonel in the 55th Regiment of Foot on 8 July 1758.[4] He was for many years barrack master in New York. He was promoted colonel and was the commander of the 60th Regiment of Foot in January 1776. He was commissioned Major General in 1 January 1776. He commanded the 6th brigade at the Battle of Long Island.[4]

He was instrumental in fighting and stopping the fire, which destroyed 500 homes and about 1/4 of Manhattan in September 1776. He returned to England in February 1777. He was appointed civil governor of New York in 1779, and arrived in New York City in March 1780, and was appointed Governor on 23 March 1780. He was made a Lieutenant General on 20 November 1782. He issued a proclamation of Thanksgiving on 14 January 1783.[5]

On 5 May 1783, he met with General Guy Carleton, General Henry Clinton, and Admiral Robert Digby, about the planning for the evacuation of New York City.[6]

Leaving for England, Robertson was replaced as commandant of New York City by Major General James Pattison, and as governor by Lt. Gov. Andrew Elliot since 17 Apr. 1783. Robertson died in England on 4 March 1788.


  • Ronald W. Howard (ed) The twilight of British rule in revolutionary America: the New York letter book of General James Robertson, 1780–1783, New York State Historical Association, 1983; ISBN 978-0-917334-12-2


  1. Scotland's Mark on America
  2. Charles Zebina Lincoln, ed. (1909). State of New York: Messages from the governors. 1. J.B. Lyon company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. WH Auden
  4. 4.0 4.1 Roster of St Andrew's Society of the State of New York
  5. James Robertson's proclamation
  6. David Lee Russell (2000). The American Revolution in the Southern colonies. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-0783-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Government offices
Preceded by
William Tryon
Governor of the Province of New York
Succeeded by
Andrew Elliot