Rustic Warriors

Warfare and the Provincial Soldier on the New England Frontier, 1689-1748

320 pages

5 illustrations

November, 2011

ISBN: 9780814722701



Also available in



Part of the Warfare and Culture series


Steven C. Eames is Professor of History at Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts. 

All books by Steven Eames

The early French Wars (1689-1748) in North America saw provincial soldiers, or British white settlers, in Massachusetts and New Hampshire fight against New France and her Native American allies with minimal involvement from England. Most British officers and government officials viewed the colonial soldiers as ill-disciplined, unprofessional, and incompetent: General John Forbes called them “a gathering from the scum of the worst people.”

Taking issue with historians who have criticized provincial soldiers’ battlefield style, strategy, and conduct, Steven Eames demonstrates that what developed in early New England was in fact a unique way of war that selectively blended elements of European military strategy, frontier fighting, and native American warfare. This new form of warfare responded to and influenced the particular challenges, terrain, and demography of early New England. Drawing upon a wealth of primary materials on King William’s War, Queen Anne’s War, Dummer’s War, and King George’s War, Eames offers a bottom-up view of how war was conducted and how war was experienced in this particular period and place. Throughout Rustic Warriors, he uses early New England culture as a staging ground from which to better understand the ways in which New Englanders waged war, as well as to provide a fuller picture of the differences between provincial, French, and Native American approaches to war.


  • "A useful work...recommended."

    —R.P. Gildrie, CHOICE

  • "Steven Eames renders a scholarly social history that challenges some views of the provincial soldier...[he] writes clearly, and his narrative is livened with numerous quotes from primary sources. We learn of the provincial soldier from his own words."

    Post Library

  • "Rustic Warrior is an important contribution to the military history of colonial America."

    American Historical Review

  • "Eames has added a valuable description of the nature of war that dominated New England for much of the century leading to 1775."

    —Richard I. Melvoin, American Journal of American History

  • "An ambitious and well-researched attempt to understand anew the provincial soldier and the particular circumstances of war on the New England frontier."

    H-Net Reviews

  • "The book is made up of a superb introduction and eleven chapters...Eames has produced a book that makes a much-needed contribution to the 'new military history' (which blends social and military history) that will appeal to the motivated students of history who belong to Phi Alpha Theta."

    The Historian