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Black Founders

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First: A  Related Resource: Get a FREE copy of “Negroes in the American Army of the Revolution” by George H. Moore

 

It has been estimated that at least 5,000 black soldiers fought on the patriot side during the Revolutionary War. The exact number will never be known because eighteenth century muster rolls usually did not indicate race. Careful comparisons between muster rolls and church, census, and other records have recently helped identify many black soldiers. Additionally, various eyewitness accounts provide some indication of the level of African Americans’ participation during the war.

Baron von Closen, a member of Rochambeau’s French army at Yorktown, wrote in July 1781, “A quarter of them [the American army] are Negroes, merry, confident and sturdy.” The use of African Americans as soldiers, whether freemen or slaves, was avoided by Congress and General Washington early in the war. The prospect of armed slave revolts proved more threatening to white society than British redcoats. General Washington allowed the enlistment of free blacks with “prior military experience” in January 1776, and extended the enlistment terms to all free blacks in January 1777 in order to help fill the depleted ranks of the Continental Army.

 



Black Founders Reprinted with permission from The Founders, Religion and Government (Facebook) For many years the actions of black men, women, and children in our nation's founding has been largely ignored. The enslavement of black Americans was prominent, not their contributions. We read about those slaves who joined the British Army to gain their freedom. But what of the thousands of blacks who served this country in her hour of need? Their deeds were no less important than those of their white neighbors. They fought and died on the battlefields. They road the countryside as couriers. They held office. The wrote in support of independence. The led their communities.


 

"Patriots of Color" - Brief summaries of "Patriots of Color," (with permission) from Copyrighted "Volumes 1 & 2" of the extensive "Patriot Chronicles" series compiled and written by: George Quintal Jr.

Continental Army  - Many "Patriots of Color," including Blacks and Indians, served as soldiers in the American Revolution. The number is between 12,000 and 15,000. Some were slaves fighting for the promise of freedom. Others were free fighting for their country's liberty. By 1779, 15% of the Continental Army were "Patriots of Color." These men fought in the very first Battles of Lexington and Concord all the way to the final major battle at Yorktown. They saw action in every major engagement including Ticonderoga, Monmouth, and Princeton. They suffered at Valley Forge and crossed the Delaware with Washington. Every colony except South Carolina and Georgia sent black men with the white men to fight.

In addition to the integrated units, there were also three all Black units that served: the Rhode Island First regiment, who fought with distinction at Newport, Monmouth and Yorktown; the Black Bucks of America, a Massachusetts regiment whose banner is still on display at the Massachusetts Historical Society; and the Volunteer Chasseurs, a regiment from Haiti brought over by our French allies. The latter unit took the ideas of liberty back to Haiti with them. Those ideas were used to overthrow their French masters and create the second republic in the Americas. 

The service of "Patriots of Color" rendered to the United States of America must not be forgotten, but remain as an essential part of America's heritage and history.