BLACK BUZZ NEWS SERVICE
African American-slave and free-served on both sides of the war for independence from the British Crown. The British actively recruited slaves belonging to so-called Patriot masters. Because of man power shortages George Washington lifted the ban that he previously imposed on Black enlistment in the Continental Army on January 16,1776. Small all Black Units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many slaves were promised freedom for serving. Another All Black Unit came from Haiti with French forces.
It is estimated that 5,000 brave,courageous, heroic ,bold African American Patriots served gallantly as soldiers for the Continental Army,while more than 20,000 fought for the British cause.
1775 * The Earl of Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment was the first regiment made up of slaves soldiers promised their freedom in exchange for fighting on the Red Coat side(British ). John Murray ,Earl of Dunmore (1732-1809 ), British Royal Governor of Virginia,issued a proclamation promising freedom to slaves who joined the British forces.
Sources : Encyclopedia Americana,1988,vol.9 p. 475; Hornsby,Chronology of American History,p. 7.
On April 19, 1775 ,Lemuel Haynes, Peter Salem , Pomp Blackman , Caesar Ferrit and his son , John Prince Estabrook and Samuel Craft were the Blacks known to have participated in the defense of Concord Bridge,the first encounter in the armed phase of the American Revolution.
See Negro Almanac,p 803
Salem Poor (1758?-?) was the first Black soldier to win a battle commendation. A free man of color, Poor enlisted in a Massachusetts militia company ,and on June 17,1775 fought valiantly at the battle of Bunker Hill ( fought on Breed,s Hill ) where he wounded a British officer. Several officers petitioned the Continental Congress to recognize his bravery as a brave and gallant Soldier. " There is no record that he received such notice. Other Blacks at the battle were Barzillai Lew, Cuff Whittemore , Titus Coburn , Charlestown Eads , Peter Salem ,
Sampson Taylor , and Caesar Brown.
Sources : Dictionary of American Negro Biography,p 500 , Encyclopedia of Black America ,p.684. Negro Almanac,p 804
1778 * The First Rhode Island Regiment was the first and only all Black Unit to fight in the American Revolution. On February 2, 1778,Rhode Island passed the first slave enlistment act. In August,the regiment of 125 Blacks-95 among them slaves-successfully sustained three attacks by the British,allowing the rest of the American Army to make a successful retreat at the Battle of Rhode Island.
Sources : Cantor,Historic Landmarks of Black America,p.xv vii; Negro Almanac,pp 806-7 .
*500 proud Haitians troops under Les Chasseurs de Saint Dominque fought gallantly with the Patriots at the Siege of Savannah on October 9,1779 and a Bronze Statue of Four Haitian soldiers stands proudly at Franklin Square in Savannah Georgia today. Haitian troops also fought with Simon Bolivar. Haitian troops never fought anyone because of race or ethnicity; They only fought for liberation and freedom.
The lessons the Haitians would learn at the Battle of Savannah helped them to beat the wicked and ungodly French who had enslaved them on the Island of Haiti.