Category «African-American»

America’s First African American Military Unit: Ethiopian Brigade in the American Revolution by Harry Schenawolf

The Ethiopian Brigade was the brainchild of John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore, Royal Governor Lord Dunmore of Virginia. On November 7, 1775, he issued a proclamation that rattled the chains of slavery; that which fueled the economy of both the northern and southern thirteen rebellious British Colonies in North America.   Open warfare had …

African Americans and the Revolutionary War Victory at Red Bank by Harry Schenawolf

The Battle of Red Bank saw four hundred Americans defend Fort Mercer, New Jersey, against 2,000 Hessians resulting in the second most costly defeat for the British forces after the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was an incredible feat of gallantry and determination by Rhode Island ‘rebels’ who doggedly faced the Hessian attackers’ promise that …

Peter Salem by Harry Schenawolf

African American Soldier in the American Revolutionary War Peter Salem, a slave who was freed to fight in his master’s militia, is credited for stepping forward at a critical point in the Battle of Bunker Hill outside Boston in 1775; he fired the shot that killed British Royal Marine Major John Pitcairn. At the time …

Colonel Tye

Escaped Slave, British Soldier, and the Greatest Guerrilla Fighter Of the American Revolutionary War It is late fall, 1775. A British officer stares out over the river. The wide mouth of the James River is choked with dark hulls that sit peacefully at their anchors, their towering masts swaying in the stiffening breeze that flows …

Benjamin Scott Mayes

Very little has been recorded about Benjamin ‘Daddy Ben’ Scott Mayes.  He was an ‘outlandish’ (colloquial term for those born in Africa) who remained a slave until death.  He made his mark on history during the American Revolution.  He had accompanied his master, then Captain John Scott, to war.  According to written accounts, Benjamin had …

Plymouth County Roster

African Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War From Plymouth County, Massachusetts Taken from recruiting documents in the collection of the Pilgrim Society.  Compiled by Jeremy D. Bangs in 1996, visiting curator of Manuscripts, Pilgrim Hall Museum. Silas Accro, age 29, from Plymouth, Col. Theo. Cotton’s regiment Pero Blakely, age 28, from Bridgewater, Maj. Cary’s …

Oliver Cromwell

African American Soldier of the Revolutionary War Then did we see old Bonner  rise  And, borrowing Spite from Hell  They stride along with magic eyes  where Sons of Freedom dwell                         Lemuel Haynes Oliver Cromwell was an African American soldier who participated in nearly every major battle of the Revolutionary War’s northern campaign.   He spent …

Blacks in the Continental Army

Should Blacks Serve in the Continental Army? Washington and a new nation struggle with their convictions, morals, and necessity.    O’er the raging billows borne. Men, call’d Christians, bought & sold me, Paid my price in paltry gold; But though their’s they have enroll’d me, Minds are never to be sold.                                     by W. Cowper, …

Jack “Prince” Sisson (1743-1821)

Capture of British General Richard Prescott July 10th 1777 A tawny son of Africa’s race Them through the ravine led, And entering then the Overing House, They found him in his bed. But to get in they had no means Except poor Cuffee’s head, Who beat the door down, then rushed in, And seized him …