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Wednesday, July 12, 2017
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Truman

African Americans in the Revolutionar War

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A bit forgotten history about our Revolutionary War

 

Compliments of Wikipedia

220px-Soldiers_at_the_siege_of_Yorktown_
 
1780 drawing of American soldiers from the Yorktown campaign shows a black infantryman from the 1st Rhode Island Regiment.

African Americans—slave and free—served on both sides during the war. The British recruited slaves belonging to Patriot masters and promised freedom to those who served by act of Lord Dunmore's Proclamation. Because of manpower shortages, George Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. Small all-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many slaves were promised freedom for serving. Some of the men promised freedom were sent back to their masters, after the war was over, out of political convenience. Another all-black unit came from Saint-Domingue with French colonial forces. At least 5,000 black soldiers fought for the Revolutionary cause.[686][687]

Tens of thousands of slaves escaped during the war and joined British lines; others simply moved off in the chaos. For instance, in South Carolina, nearly 25,000 slaves (30% of the enslaved population) fled, migrated or died during the disruption of the war.[688] This greatly disrupted plantation production during and after the war. When they withdrew their forces from Savannah and Charleston, the British also evacuated 10,000 slaves belonging to Loyalists.[689] Altogether, the British evacuated nearly 20,000 blacks at the end of the war. More than 3,000 of them were freedmen and most of these were resettled in Nova Scotia; other blacks were sold in the West Indies.[690][691]

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