By 1775, war between the British and the American colonies seemed inevitable. Sir Guy Carleton, Governor of Canada, authorized Lieutenant-Colonel Allan MacLean to raise volunteer regiments from the British population in Canada on 12 June 1755. The first regiment established was the Royal Highland Emigrants. He raised two battalions, one in Canada and the other in Nova Scotia.
The British had raised two additional regiments by the summer of 1775, the Royal Fencible Americans Regiment and the Royal Regiment of Nova Scotia Volunteers.