Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Black Soldiers Of The Revolutionary War.

The Revolutionary war and the War of 1812, was not only fought by the Whites but Blacks as well, there were hundreds if not thousands in the ranks. The south was against it while the north was for it. It is not known how many Blacks were in the Revolutionary war as race was not recorded on the rosters. This would change in the war of 1812, all races were recorded. I could write a book on the inn’s and out’s on why the blacks should or should not be allowed to fight. But I will not go into it here, instead I well list some of the Black soldiers.

Ebenezer Hill, a slave at Stonington, Conn., who served throughout the war, and who took part in the battles of Saratoga and Stillwater, and witnessed the surrender of Burgoyne.

Prince Whipple acted as bodyguard to General Whipple, one of Washington’s Aids. Prince is the Negro seen on horseback in the engraving of Washington crossing the Delaware, again pulling the stroke oar in the boat which Washington crossed in.

At the storming of fort Griswold Major Montgomery was lifted upon the walls of the fort by his soldiers, and called upon the Americans to surrender. John Freeman, a negro soldier, with his pike, pinned him dead to the earth. Among the American soldiers who were massacred by the British, After the surrender of the fort, were two negro soldiers, Lambo Latham and Jordan Freeman.

Quack Matrick, a negro, fought through the Revolutionary war, as a soldier, for which he was pensioned.

Jonathan Overtin, was at the battle of Yorktown.

Samuel Charlton was born in the state of New Jersey, a slave, in the family of Mr. M.,, who owned, also, other members belonging to his family. All residing in the English neighborhood. During the progress of the war, he was placed by his master ( as a substitute for himself ) in the army then in New Jersey, as a teamaster in baggage train. He was in active service at the battle of Monmouth, not only witnessing, but taking a part in, the great struggle of the day.

He was also in several other engagements in different sections of that part of the state. He was a great admirer of General Washington, and was, at one time, attached to his baggage train, and received the General’s commendation for his courage and devotion to the cause of liberty.

Samuel Charlton was about fifteen or seventeen years of age when placed in the army, for which his master rewarded him with a silver dollar. At the expiration of his time, he was returned to his master, to serve again in bondage, after having toiled, fought and bled for liberty in common with the regular soldiery. Mr. M., at his death, by will, liberated his slaves and provided a pension for Charlton to be paid during his life.

James Easton, of Bridgewater, a colored man, participated in the erection of the fortifications on Dorchester Heights, under the command of Washington, which the nex morning so greatly surprised the British soldiers then encamped in Boston.”

Among the brave blacks who fought in the battles for American liberty was Major Jeffrey a Tennesseean who, during the campaign of Major-General Andrew Jackson in Mobile, filled the place of “regular” among the soldiers. In the charge made by General Stump against the enemy, the Americans were repulsed and thrown into disorder, Major Stump being forced to retire in a manner by no means desirable, under circumstances.

Major Jeffrey who was but a common, soldier, seeing the condition of his comrades, and comprehending the disastrous results about to befall them, rushed forward, mounted a horse, took command of the troops, and by an heroic effort, rallied them to the charge completely routing the enemy, who left the American masters of the field. He at once received from the General the title of “Major,” though he could not, according to the American policy so commission him.

To the day of his death, he was known by that title in Nashville, where he resided, and the circumstances which entitle him to it were constantly the subject of popular conversation. Major Jeffrey was highly respected by the whites generally, and revered, in his own neighborhood, by all colored people who knew him.

A few years later receiving an indignity from a common ruffan, he was forced to strike him in self defense; for which act, in accordance with the laws of slavery in that, as well as many other of the slave states, he was compelled to received on his naked person, nine and thirty lashes with a raw hide! This, at the age of seventy odd, after the distinguished services rendered his country, probably when the white ruffian for whom he was tortured was unable to raise an arm in it’s defense, was more then he could bear; it broke his heart, and he sank to rise no more, till summoned by the blast, of the last trumpet to stand on the battle field of general resurrection.

James Armisted during the war acted as a scout and spy for LaFayette during his campaign in Virginia, and at one time give information of an intended surprise to be made upon the forces of the Marquis, thereby saving probably a rout of the army. Armisted after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, was returned to his master three years after the close of the war. He was manumitted by especial act of the Virginia Legislatures, whose attention was called to the worthiness of the service rendered by Armisted.

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