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Title: Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812
Author: Nell, William C.
Language: English
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                       COLORED AMERICANS IN THE
                         WARS OF 1776 AND 1812


                            WILLIAM C. NELL



This little volume sets forth in compact form the achievements of the
American Negro during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. It
is compiled from valuable records, diaries, documents and articles in
newspapers nearly contemporaneous with the times of which they treat,
and it may, therefore, be considered a valuable compendium to the man
who seeks information on a subject but scantily treated in the standard
historical works to which reference is usually made.

The matter herein contained was first printed in a Canada edition
called "Services of Colored Americans in the Wars of 1776 and 1812."
It is now out of print, but matter of so great value in fixing the
patriotic status of a people so long denied honorable place among
the nation-makers of America must not be allowed to fade from view;
especially at this time when archives and libraries are being ransacked
by scholarly men of the Negro race for defensive data against the
insidious attacks of wily foes upon the claims and merit of the colored
race considered as soldiers and citizens.

A reference to the bibliography and authorities quoted by Mr. NELL, the
author, is an addition to the original volume which will be appreciated
by those inquirers who have access to good libraries and wish to verify
the facts here given.

To have collected all these scattered and fugitive allusions involved
no small labor, and deserves the thanks of all who want to see the
material for a full and fair history of the United States so gathered
into one convenient place that the future historian cannot fail to find
it, if he be desirous; nor refuse to use it, if he be conscientious.

It should be mentioned that matter which has became untrue by the
progress of events since the first edition of this book has been
carefully exscinded.

                              H. T. KEALING.

  PHILADELPHIA, Pa., September 1, 1902.


The following pages are an effort to stem the tide of prejudice against
the Colored race. The white man despises the colored man, and has come
to think him fit only for the menial drudgery to which the majority of
the race has been so long doomed. "This prejudice was never reasoned
up, and will never be reasoned down." _It must be lived down._ In a
land where wealth is the basis of reputation, the colored man must
prove his sagacity and enterprise by successful trade or speculation.
To show his capacity for mental culture he must BE, not merely _claim
the right to be_, a scholar. Professional eminence is peculiarly the
result of practice and long experience. The colored people, therefore,
owe it to each other and to their race to extend liberal encouragement
to colored lawyers, physicians and teachers, as well as to mechanics
and artisans of all kinds. Let no individual despair. Not to name the
living, let me hold up the example of one whose career deserves to
be often spoken of, as complete proof that a colored man can rise to
social respect and the highest employment and usefulness, in spite
not only of the prejudice that crushes his race, but of the heaviest
personal burdens. Dr. DAVID RUGGLES, poor, blind and an invalid,
founded a well-known Water Cure Establishment in the town where I
write, erected expensive buildings, won honorable distinction as a most
successful and skilful practitioner, secured the warm regard and esteem
of this community, and left a name embalmed in the hearts of many who
feel that they owe life to his eminent skill and careful practice.
Black though he was, his aid was sought sometimes by those numbered
among the Pro-Slavery class. To be sure, his is but a single instance,
and I know it required pre-eminent ability to make a way up to light
through the overwhelming mass of prejudice and contempt. But it is
these rare cases of strong will and eminent endowment,--always sure to
make the world feel whether it will or no,--that will finally wring
from a contemptuous community the reluctant confession of the colored
man's equality.

I ask, therefore, the reader's patronage of the following sheets, on
several grounds; first, as an encouragement to the author, Mr. NELL,
to pursue a subject which well deserves illustration on other points
besides those on which he has labored; secondly, to scatter broadly as
possible, the facts here collected, as instance of the colored man's
success--a record of the genius he has shown, and the services he has
rendered society in the higher departments of exertion; thirdly, to
encourage such men as RUGGLES to perseverance, by showing a generous
appreciation of their labors and a cordial sympathy in their trials.

Some things set down here go to prove colored men patriotic--though
denied a country; and all show a wish, on their part, to prove
themselves men, in a land whose laws refuse to recognize their manhood.
If the reader shall, sometimes, blush to find that in the days of our
country's weakness, we remembered their power to help or harm us, and
availed ourselves gladly of their generous services, while we have
since, used our strength only to crush them the more completely, let
him resolve henceforth to do them justice himself and claim it for them
of others. If any shall be convinced by these facts, that they need
only a free path to show the same capacity and reap the same rewards
as other races, let such labor to open every door to their efforts,
and hasten the day when to be black shall not, almost necessarily,
doom a man to poverty and the most menial drudgery. There is touching
eloquence, as well as Spartan brevity, in the appeal of a well-known
colored man, Rev. PETER WILLIAMS, of New York:

"We are _natives_ of this country; we ask only to be treated as well as
_foreigners_. Not a few of our fathers suffered and bled to purchase
its independence; we ask only to be treated as well as those who fought
against it. We have toiled to cultivate it, and to raise it to its
present prosperous condition; we ask only to share equal privileges
with those who come from distant lands to enjoy the fruits of our

                               WENDELL PHILLIPS.

  NORTHAMPTON, Oct. 25, 1852.


In the month of July, 1847, the eloquent Bard of Freedom, JOHN G.
WHITTIER, contributed to the National Era a statement of facts relative
to the Military Services of Colored Americans in the Revolution of
1776, and the War of 1812. Being a member of the Society of Friends,
he disclaimed any eulogy upon the shedding of blood, even in the cause
of acknowledged Justice, but, says he, "when we see a whole nation
doing honor to the memories of one class of its defenders, to the
total neglect of another class, who had the misfortune to be of darker
complexion, we cannot forego the satisfaction of inviting notice to
certain historical facts, which, for the last half century, have been
quietly elbowed aside, as no more deserving of a place in patriotic
recollections, than the descendants of the men to whom the facts in
question relates, have a place in a Fourth of July procession [in the
nation's estimation].

 "Of the services and sufferings of the Colored Soldiers of the
 Revolution, no attempt has, to our knowledge, been made to preserve a
 record. They have had no historian. With here and there an exception,
 they have all passed away, and only some faint traditions linger among
 their descendants. Yet enough is known to show that the Free Colored
 Men of the United States bore their full proportion of the sacrifices
 and trials of the Revolutionary War."

In any attempt, then, to rescue from oblivion the name and fame of
those who, though "tinged with the hated stain," yet had warm hearts
and active hands in the "times that tried men's souls," I will first
gratefully tender him my thanks for the service his compilation has
afforded me, and my acknowledgments also to other individuals who have
kindly contributed facts for this pamphlet. Imperfect as these pages
may prove, to prepare even these, journeys have been made to confer
with the living, and even pilgrimages to grave-yards, to save all that
may still be gleaned from their fast disappearing records.

There are those who will ask,--why make a parade of the _military_
services of Colored Americans, instead of recording their attention
_to_ and progress _in_ the various other departments of civil, social,
and political elevation? To this let me answer, that I yield to no one
in appreciating the propriety and pertinency of _every_ effort on the
part of Colored Americans, in _all_ pursuits, which, as members of
the human family, it becomes them to share in; and, among these, _my_
predilections are _least_ and _last_ for what constitutes the pomp and
circumstances of War.

Did the limits of this work permit, I could furnish an elaborate list
of those who have distinguished themselves as Teachers, Editors,
Orators, Mechanics, Clergymen, Artists, Farmers, Poets, Lawyers,
Physicians, Merchants, etc., to whose perennial fame be it recorded
that most of their attainments were reached through difficulties
unknown to any but those whose sin is the curl of the hair and the hue
of the skin.

There is now an institution of learning in the State of New York,
Central College, which recently employed, as Professor of Belles
Lettres, a young Colored man, CHARLES L. REASON, and who, on resigning
his chair, dropped his mantle gracefully upon the shoulders of WILLIAM
G. ALLEN, another Colored young man as worthy for scholastic abilities
and gentlemanly deportment.

These men, as Teachers, especially in Colleges open to all,
irrespective of accidental differences, are doing a mighty work in
uprooting prejudice. The influences thus gathered are already felt.
Many a young white man or woman who, in early life has imbibed wrong
notions of the Colored man's inferiority, is taught a new lesson by the
Colored Professors at McGrawville; and they leave its honored walls
with thanksgiving in their hearts for the conversion from Pro-Slavery
Heathenism to the Gospel of Christian Freedom; and are thus prepared to
go forth as Pioneers in the cause of Human Brotherhood.

But the Orator's voice and Author's pen have both been eloquent
in detailing the merits of Colored Americans in these various
ramifications of society, while a combination of circumstances have
veiled from the public eye a narration of those military services which
are generally conceded as passports to the honorable and lasting notice
of Americans.

  BOSTON, May, 1851.



On the fifth of March, 1851, a petition was presented to the
Massachusetts Legislature, asking an appropriation of $1,500 for
erecting a monument to the memory of Crispus Attucks, the first martyr
in the Boston Massacre of March 5th, 1770. The matter was referred
to the Committee on Military Affairs, who granted a hearing of the
petitioners, in whose behalf appeared Wendell Phillips, Esq., and Wm.
C. Nell, but finally submitted an adverse report, on the ground that
a boy, Christopher Snyder, was previously killed. Admitting this fact
(which was the result of a very different sense from that in which
Attucks fell), does not offset the claims of Attucks, and those who
made the fifth of March famous in our annals--the day which history
selects as the dawn of the American Revolution.

Botta's History and Hewe's Reminiscences (the tea party survivor)
establishes the fact that the colored man, Attucks, was of and with the
people, and was never regarded otherwise. Botta, in speaking of the
scenes of the 5th of March, says "The people were greatly exasperated.
The multitude armed with clubs, ran towards King Street, crying,
'Let us drive out these ribalds; they have no business here!" The
rioters rushed furiously towards the Custom House; they approached
the sentinel, crying, 'Kill him, kill him!' They assaulted him with
snowballs, pieces of ice, and whatever they could lay their hands
upon." The guard was then called, and, in marching to the Custom House,
"they encountered," continues Botta, "a band of the populace, led by a
mulatto named Attucks, who brandished their clubs, and peltered them
with snowballs. The maledictions, the execrations of the multitude
were horrible. In the midst of a torrent of invectives from every
quarter, the military were challenged to fire. The populace advanced
to the points of their bayonets. The soldiers appeared like statues;
the cries, the howlings, the menaces, the violent din of bells still
sounding the alarm, increased the confusion and the horrors of these
moments; at length the mulatto and twelve of his companions, pressing
forward, environed the soldiers, and striking their muskets with their
clubs cried to the multitude: 'Be not afraid, they dare not fire; why
do they hesitate, why do you not kill them, why not crush them at
once!' The mulatto lifted his arm against Captain Preston, and having
turned one of the muskets, he seized the bayonet with his left hand, as
if he intended to execute his threat. At this moment, confused cries
were heard: 'The wretches dare not fire!' Firing succeeds, Attucks is
slain. The other discharges follow. Three were killed, five severely
wounded, and several others slightly."

Attucks was killed by Montgomery, one of Captain Preston's soldiers. He
had been foremost in resisting and was first slain; as proof of front
and close engagement, received two balls, one in each breast.

John Adams, counsel for the soldiers, admitted that Attucks appeared
to have undertaken to be the Hero of the night, and to lead the army
with banners. He and Caldwell, not being residents of Boston, were both
buried from Faneuil Hall. The citizens generally participated in the
funeral solemnities.

The Boston Transcript, of March, 1851, published an anonymous
correspondence disparaging the whole affair; denouncing Crispus Attucks
as a very firebrand of disorder and sedition, the most conspicuous,
inflammatory, and uproarious of the misguided populace, and who, if
he had not fallen a martyr, would richly have reserved hanging as an
incendiary. If the leader, Attucks, deserved the epithets above applied
is it not a legitimate inference that the citizens who followed on are
included, and hence, should swing in his company on the gallows? If the
leader and his patriot band were misguided, the distinguished orators
who, in after days, commemorated the fifth day of March, must, indeed,
have been misguided, and with them the masses who were inspired by
their eloquence; for John Hancock, in 1774, invokes the injured shades
of Maverick, Gray, Caldwell, Attucks, Carr.

And Judge Dawes, in 1775, thus alludes to the band of misguided
incendiaries. "The provocation of that night must be numbered among the
master springs which gave the first motion to a vast machinery, a noble
and comprehensive system of national independence."

Ramsay's History of the American Revolution, Vol. I., p. 22, adds,
"The anniversary of the 5th of March was observed with great solemnity;
eloquent orators were successively employed to preserve the remembrance
of it fresh in the mind. On these occasions the blessings of
liberty--the horrors of Slavery, and the danger of a standing army were
presented to the public view. These annual orations administered fuel
to the fire of liberty, and kept it burning with an irresistible flame."

The 5th of March continued to be celebrated for the above reasons,
until the Declaration of American Independence was substituted in its
place, and its orators were expected to consider the feelings, manners,
and principles of the former as giving birth to the latter.

In judging, then, of the merits of those who launched the American
Revolution, we would not take counsel from the Tories of that or the
present day, but rather heed the approving eulogy of Lovell, Hancock
and Warren.

Welcome, then, be every taunt that such correspondents have flung at
Attucks and his company, as the best evidence of their merits and
strongest claims on our gratitude. Envy and the foe do not labor to
abuse any but prominent champions of a cause.

The rejection of this petition was to be expected, if we accept the
axiom that a Colored man never gets Justice done him in the United
States, except by mistake. The petitioners only asked for that Justice,
and that the name of Crispus Attucks be surrounded with the same
emblems constantly appropriated by a grateful country to other gallant

And yet let it be recorded that the same session of the Legislature
which had refused the Attucks monument, granted one to Isaac Davis,
of Concord,--both were promoters of the American Revolution; but one
was white, the other black--and this fact is the only solution to the
problem why Justice is not meted out.[1]

[1] A monument to Crispus Attucks has been erected on Boston Commons
since the above was written.--H. T. K.

Extract from the Speech of Hon. Anson Burlingame, in Faneuil Hall,
October 13, 1852, when alluding to the volunteer participation of
Boston officials in returning Thomas Sims to bondage, in April, 1851.

 "The conquering of New England prejudices in favor of liberty, 'does
 not pay.' It 'does not pay,' I submit, to put our fellow citizens
 under practical martial law; to beat the drum in our streets; to
 clothe our temples of justice in chains, and to creep along by the
 light of the morning star, over the ground wet with the blood of
 Crispus Attucks, the noble Colored man, who fell in King Street,
 before the muskets of tyranny, away in the dawn of our Revolution;
 creep by Faneuil Hall, silent and dark; by the Green Dragon, where
 that noble mechanic, Paul Revere, once mustered the sons of liberty;
 within sight of Prospect Hill, where we first unfurled the glorious
 banner; creep along with funeral pace, bearing a brother, a man made
 in the image of his God, not to the grave--oh, that were merciful, for
 in the grave there is no work and no device, and the voice of a master
 never comes--but back to the degradation of a Slavery which kills out
 of a living body an immortal soul. (Great sensation.) Oh! where is the
 man now who took part in that mournful transaction, who would wish,
 looking back upon it, to avow it."

During the Revolutionary War, public opinion was so strongly in favor
of the abolition of slavery, that, in some of the country towns,
votes were passed in town meetings that they would have no slaves
among them; and that they would not exact, of masters, any bonds for
the maintenance of liberated blacks, should they become incapable
of supporting themselves. A liberty-loving antiquarian copied the
following from Suffolk Probate Record, and published it in the
Liberator of February, 1847:

 "Know all men by these presents, that I, Jonathan Jackson, of
 Newburyport, in the county of Essex, gentleman, in consideration of
 the impropriety I feel, and have felt in beholding any person in
 constant bondage--more especially at the time when my country is so
 warmly contending for the liberty every man ought to enjoy--and having
 sometime since promised my Negro man, Pomp, that I would give him
 his freedom--and in further consideration of five shillings, paid me
 by said Pomp, I do hereby liberate, manumit, and set him free; and I
 do hereby remise and release unto said Pomp, all demands of whatever
 nature I have against said Pomp.

 "In witness whereof, I hereunto set my hand and seal, this nineteenth
 June, 1776.

  "JONATHAN JACKSON.      (Seal).

  "Witness, Mary Coburn, Wm. Noyes."

It only remains to say a word respecting the two parties of the
foregoing indenture.

Jonathan Jackson, of Newburyport, we well remember to have heard spoken
of, in our boyish days, by honored lips, as a most upright and thorough
gentleman of the old school, possessing talents and character of the
first standing. He was the first Collector of the Port of Boston, under
Washington's administration and was Treasurer of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts for many years, and died in 1810. A tribute to his
memory and his worth, said to be from the pen of the late John Lowell,
appeared in the Columbian Sentinel, March 10, 1810. His immediate
descendants have long resided in this city, are extensively known, and
as widely and justly honored.

Pomp took the name of his late master, upon his emancipation, and
soon after enlisted in the army, as Pomp Jackson, served through the
whole war of the revolution and obtained an honorable discharge at its
termination. He afterwards settled in Andover, near a pond, still known
as "Pomp's Pond," where some of his descendants yet live. In this case
of emancipation, it appears, instead of "cutting his master's throat,"
he only slashed the throats of his country's enemies.

The late Governor Eustis, of Massachusetts, the pride and boast of
the democracy of the East, himself an active participant in the War,
and therefore a most competent witness, states that the Freed Colored
Soldiers entered the ranks with the whites. The time of those who
were Slaves was purchased of their masters, and they were induced to
enter the service in consequence of a law of Congress, by which, on
condition of their serving in the ranks during the War, they were made
Freemen. The hope of Liberty inspired them with the courage to oppose
their breasts to the Hessian bayonet at Red Bank, and enabled them to
endure with fortitude the cold and famine of Valley Forge.

Seymour Burr was a Slave in Connecticut, to a brother of Col. Aaron
Burr, from whom he derived his name. Though treated with much favor by
his master, his heart yearned for liberty, and he seized an occasion to
induce several of his fellow servants to escape in a boat, intending to
join the British, that they might become Freemen; but being pursued by
their owners, armed with implements of death, they were compelled to

Burr's master, contrary to his expectation, did not inflict corporal
punishment, but reminded him of the kindness with which he had been
treated, and asked what inducement he could have in leaving him. Burr
replied that he wanted his liberty. His owner finally proposed, that
if he would give him the bounty money he might join the American army,
and at the end of the war be his own man. Burr, willing to make any
sacrifice for his liberty, consented, and served faithfully during
the campaign, attached to the Seventh Regiment, commanded by Colonel,
afterwards Governor Brooks, of Melford. He was present at the siege of
Fort Catskill, and endured much suffering from starvation and cold.
After some skirmishing the army was relieved by the arrival of Gen.
Washington, who, as witnessed by him, shed tears of joy on finding them
unexpectedly safe.

Burr married one of the Punkapog tribe of Indians, and settled in
Canton, Mass., where his widow now, aged one hundred and one years,
draws his pension.

Primus Hall, a native Bostonian, and long known to the citizens as a
soap-boiler, served in the revolutionary war, and used to entertain
the social circle with various anecdotes of military experience; among
them an instance, where being himself in possession of a blanket, at a
time when such a luxury had become scarce, Gen. Washington entered the
tent, having appropriated his own bedding for the worn-out soldiers,
Hall immediately tendered his blanket for the General, who replied,
he preferred sharing his privations with his fellow soldiers, and
accordingly Gen. Washington and Primus Hall reposed for the night

Mr. Hall was among those Colored citizens who, in the war of 1812,
repaired to Castle Island, in Boston harbor, to assist in building
fortifications. (See Appendix.)

Joshua B. Smith narrated to me that he was present at a company of
distinguished Massachusetts men, when the conversation turned upon
the exploits of Revolutionary times; and that the late Judge Story
related the instance of a Colored Artillerist, who, while having charge
of a cannon with a white fellow soldier, was wounded in one arm. He
immediately turned to his comrade and proposed changing his position,
exclaiming that he had yet one arm left with which he could render
some service to his country. The change proved fatal to the heroic
soldier, for another shot from the enemy killed him on the spot. Judge
Story furnished other incidents of the bravery and devotion of Colored
Soldiers, adding, that he had often thought them and their descendants
too much neglected, considering the part they had sustained in the
Wars; and he regretted that he did not, in early life, gather the facts
into a shape for general information.

At the close of the Revolutionary War, John Hancock presented the
Colored Soldiers, called the "Bucks of America," an appropriate banner
(bearing his initials) as a tribute to their courage and devotion
in the cause of American Liberty, through a protracted and bloody
struggle. This banner is now in the possession of Mrs. Kay, whose
father was a member of the company.

When a boy, living in West Boston, I was familiar with the presence of
"Big Dick," and of hearing the following history confirmed. It is not
wholly out of place in this collection.

Big Dick--Richard Seavers, whose death in this city we lately
mentioned, was a man of mighty mould. A short time previous to his
death, he measured six feet five inches in height, and attracted much
attention when seen in the street. He was born in Salem or vicinity
and when about sixteen years old, went to England, where he entered
the British navy. When the war of 1812 broke out, he would not fight
against his country, gave himself up as an American citizen, and was
made a prisoner of war.

A Surgeon on board of an American privateer, who experienced the tender
mercies of the British Government in Darton prison, during the War of
1812, makes honorable mention of King Dick, as he was there called.

"There are about four hundred and fifty negroes in prison No. 4, and
this assemblage of blacks affords many curious anecdotes, and much
matter for speculation. These blacks have a ruler among them whom
they call King Dick. He is by far the largest, and I suspect, the
strongest man in the prison. He is six feet five inches in height, and
proportionably large. This black Hercules commands respect, and his
subjects tremble in his presence. He goes the rounds every day, and
visits every berth to see if they are all kept clean. When he goes the
rounds, he puts on a large bearskin cap, and carries in his hand a
huge club. If any of his men are dirty, drunken or grossly negligent,
he threatens them with a beating; and if they are saucy, they are sure
to receive one. They have several times conspired against him, and
attempted to dethrone him, but he has always conquered the rebels. One
night several attacked him while asleep in his hammock, he sprang up
and seized the smallest of them by his feet, and thumped another with
him. The poor negro who had thus been made a beetle of, was carried
next day to the hospital, sadly bruised, and provokingly laughed at.
This ruler of the blacks, this King Richard IV, is a man of good
understanding, and he exercises it to a good purpose. If any one of his
color cheats, defrauds, or steals from his comrades, he is sure to be
punished for it."--Boston Patriot.


The Hon. Tristam Burgess, of Rhode Island, in a speech to Congress
first month, 1828, said: "At the commencement of the Revolutionary War,
Rhode Island had a number of slaves. A regiment of them were enlisted
into the Continental service, and no braver men met the enemy in
battle; but not one of them was permitted to be a solider until he had
first been made a freeman."

"In Rhode Island," says Governor Eustis, in his able speech against
slavery in Missouri, twelfth of Twelfth month, 1820, "the blacks formed
an entire regiment, and they discharged their duty with zeal and
fidelity. The gallant defence of Red Bank, in which the black regiment
bore a part, is among the proofs of their valor." In this contest it
will be recollected that four hundred men met and repulsed, after a
terrible and sanguinary struggle, fifteen hundred Hessian troops,
headed by Count Donop. The glory of the defence of Red Bank, which has
been pronounced one of the most heroic actions of the war, belongs in
reality to black men; yet who now hears them spoken of in connection
with it? Among the traits which distinguished the black regiment, was
devotion to their officers. In the attack made upon the American lines,
near Croton river, on the 13th of Fifth month, 1781, Colonel Greene,
the commander of the regiment, was cut down and mortally wounded; but
the sabres of the enemy only reached him through the bodies of his
faithful guard of blacks, who hovered over him to protect him, every
one of whom was killed.

Lieutenant Colonel Barton, of the Rhode Island militia, planned a
bold exploit for the purpose of surprising and taking Major-General
Prescott, the commanding officer of the royal army at Newport. Taking
with him in the night about forty men, in two boats, with oars muffled,
he had the address to elude the vigilance of the ships of war and guard
boats, and having arrived undiscovered at the General's quarters, they
were taken for the sentinels, and the General was not alarmed until the
captors were at the door of his lodging chamber, which was fast closed.
A negro man named Prince instantly thrust his head through the panel
door and seized the victim while in bed. The General's aid-de-camp
leaped from a window undressed, and attempted to escape but was taken,
and with the General brought off in safety.--Thatcher's Military
Journal, August 3, 1777.


Hon. Calvin Goddard, of Connecticut, states that in the little circle
of his residence, he was instrumental in securing, under the Act of
1818, the pensions of nineteen Colored Soldiers. "I cannot," he says,
"refrain from mentioning one aged black man, Primus Babcock, who
proudly presented to me an honorable discharge from service during the
war, dated at the close of it, wholly in the handwriting of George
Washington. Nor can I forget the expression of his feelings, when
informed after his discharge had been sent to the War Department, that
it could not be returned. At his request it was written for, as he
seemed inclined to spurn the pension and reclaim the discharge." There
is a touching anecdote related of Baron Steuben, on the occasion of
the disbandment of the American army. A black soldier, with his wounds
unhealed, utterly destitute, stood on the wharf just as a vessel bound
for a distant home was getting under way. The poor fellow gazed at the
vessel with tears in his eyes, and gave himself up to despair. The
warm hearted foreigner witnessed his emotion, and, inquiring into the
cause of it, took his last dollar from his purse, and gave it to him
with tears of sympathy trickling down his cheeks. Overwhelmed with
gratitude, the poor wounded soldier hailed the sloop, and was received
on board. As it moved out from the wharf, he cried back to his noble
friend on shore, 'God Almighty bless you, master Baron.'"

During the Revolutionary War, and after the sufferings of a protracted
contest had rendered it difficult to procure recruits for the army,
the Colony of Connecticut adopted the expedient of forming a corps
of colored soldiers. A battalion of blacks was soon enlisted, and
throughout the war conducted themselves with fidelity and efficiency.
The late General Humphreys, then a Captain, commanded a company of
this corps. It is said that some objections were made on the part of
officers, to accepting the command of the colored troops. In this
exigency, Captain Humphreys, who was attached to the family of General
Washington, volunteered his services. His patriotism was rewarded, and
his fellow officers were afterwards as desirous to obtain appointments
in that corps as they had previously been to avoid them.

The following extract, furnished by Charles Lennox Remond, from the pay
rolls of the second company fourth regiment of the Connecticut line of
the Revolutionary army may rescue many gallant names from oblivion.



    Jack Arabus,
    John Cleveland,
    Phineas Strong,
    Ned Fields,
    Isaac Higgins,
    Lewis Martin,
    Cæsar Chapman,
    Peter Mix,
    Philo Freeman,
    Hector Williams,
    Juba Freeman,
    Brister Baker,
    Cæsar Bagdon,
    Gamaliel Terry,
    Lent Munson,
    Heman Rogers,
    Job Cæsar,
    John Rogers,
    Ned Freedom,
    Ezekiel Tupham,
    Tom Freeman,
    Congo Zado,
    John Ball,
    John McLean,
    Jesse Vose,
    Daniel Bradley,
    Sharp Camp,
    Jo Otis,
    James Dinah,
    Solomon Sowtice,
    Peter Freeman,
    Cato Wilbrow,
    Cuff Freeman,
    Cato Robinson,
    Prince George,
    Prince Crosbee,
    Shuabel Johnson,
    Tim Cæsar,
    Jack Little,
    Bill Sowers,
    Dick Violet,
    Peter Gibbs,
    Prince Johnson,
    Alex. Judd,
    Pomp Liberty,
    Cuff Liberty,
    Pomp Cyrus,
    Harry Williams,
    Sharp Rogers,
    Juba Dyer,
    Andrew Jack,
    Peter Morando,
    Peter Lion,
    Sampson Cuff,
    Dick Freedom,
    Bomp McCuff.

  Boston, 24th April, 1851.


 The names of the two brave men of Color who fell, with Ledyard, at the
 storming of Fort Griswold, were Sambo Latham and Jordan Freeman.

 All the names of the slain, at that time, are inscribed on a marble
 tablet, wrought into the monument--the names of the Colored Soldiers
 last--and not only last, but a blank space is left between them and
 the whites--in genuine keeping with the "Negro Pew" distinction;
 setting them not only below all others, but by themselves--even after

 And it is difficult to say why. They were not last in the fight. When
 Major Montgomery, one of the leaders of the expedition against the
 Americans, was lifted upon the walls of the fort by his soldiers,
 flourishing his sword and calling on them to follow him, Jordan
 Freeman received him on the point of a pike, and pinned him dead to
 the earth. (Vide Hist. Collections of Connecticut.) And the name of
 Jordan Freeman stands away down, last on the list of heroes, perhaps
 the greatest hero of them all.

  Yours, with becoming indignation,


Ebenezer Hills, died at Vienna, New York, August, 1849, aged 110.
He was born a Slave, in Stonington, Conn., and became free when
twenty-eight years of age. He served through the Revolutionary War, and
was at the battles of Saratoga and Stillwater, and was present at the
surrender of Burgoyne.

The Colored inhabitants of Connecticut assembled in Convention in 1849,
to devise means for their elective franchise; a gentleman present
reports the following extract:--"A young man, Mr. West, of Bridgeport,
spoke with a great deal of energy, and with a clear and pleasant tone
of voice which many a lawyer, statesman, or clergyman might covet,
nobly vindicating the rights of the brethren. He said that the bones of
the Colored man had bleached on every battlefield where American valor
had contended for national independence. Side by side with the white
man, the black man stood and struggled to the last for the inheritance
which the white men now enjoy, but deny to us. His father was a soldier
Slave, and his master said to him when the liberty of the country was
achieved, 'Stephen, we will do something for you.' But what have they
ever done for Stephen, or for Stephen's posterity?" This orator is
evidently a young man of high promise, and better capable of voting
intelligently than half of the white men who would deny him a freeman's


The Rev. Dr. Harris, of Dumbarton, N. H., a Revolutionary veteran,
stated in a speech at Francetown, N. H., some years ago, that on one
occasion the regiment to which he was attached was commanded to defend
an important position which the enemy thrice assailed, and from which
they were as often repulsed. "There was," said the venerable speaker,
"a regiment of blacks in the same situation--a regiment of negroes
fighting for our liberty and independence, not a white man among them
but the officers--in the same dangerous and responsible position. Had
they been unfaithful, or given way before the enemy, all would have
been lost. Three times in succession were they attacked with most
desperate fury by well-disciplined and veteran troops, and three times
did they successfully repel the assault, and thus preserve an army.
They fought thus through the war. They were brave and hardy troops."

The anecdote of the Slave of General Sullivan, of New Hampshire, is
well-known. When his master told him that they were on the point of
starting for the army, to fight for liberty, he shrewdly suggested that
it would be a great satisfaction to know that he was indeed going to
fight for his liberty. Struck by the reasonableness and justice of this
suggestion, Gen. S. at once gave him his freedom.


  BARNET, May 20, 1851.


In August 16th, 1777, the Green Mountain Boys, aided by troops from New
Hampshire, and some few from Berkshire County, Massachusetts, under the
command of Gen. Starks, captured the left wing of the British Army near
Bennington. Soon as arrangements could be made, after the prisoners
were all collected, something more than seven hundred, they were tied
to a rope, two and two, and one on each side. Gen. Starks called for
more rope.

Mrs. Robinson, wife of Hon. Moses Robinson, said to the General, I
will take down the last bedstead in the house, and present the rope to
you, with one condition. When the prisoners are all tied to the rope,
you shall permit my negro man to harness up my old mare, and hitch the
rope to the whippletree, mount the mare, and conduct the British and
tory prisoners out of town. The General willingly accepted of Mrs.
Robinson's proposition. The negro mounted the mare and thus conducted
the left wing of the British Army into Massachusetts, on their way to
Boston. * * * *

Gen. Schuyler writes from Saratoga, July 23, 1777, to the President of
Massachusetts Bay, "That of the few continental troops we have had to
the Northward, one third part is composed of men too far advanced in
years for field service--of boys, or rather children, and mortifying
barely to mention, of negroes."

The General also addressed a similar letter to John Hancock, and again
to the provincial Congress, that the foregoing were facts which were
altogether uncontrovertible. * * * * * *

  Your Humble Servant,



Dr. Clarke, in the Convention which revised the Constitution of New
York, in 1821, speaking of the Colored inhabitants of the State, said:
"My honorable colleague has told us that as the Colored People are not
required to contribute to the protection or defence of the State they
are not entitled to an equal participation in the privileges of its
citizens. But, Sir, whose fault is this? Have they ever refused to do
military duty when called upon? It is haughtily asked, who will stand
in the ranks shoulder to shoulder with a negro? I answer, no one in
time of peace; no one when your musters and trainings are looked upon
as mere pastimes; no one when your militia will shoulder their muskets
and march to their trainings with as much unconcern as they would go to
a sumptuous entertainment or a splendid ball. But, Sir, when the hour
of danger approaches, your 'white' militia are just as willing that the
man of Color should be set up as a mark to be shot at by the enemy as
to be set up themselves. In the War of the Revolution, these people
helped to fight your battles by land and sea. Some of your States
were glad to turn out corps of Colored men, and to stand 'shoulder to
shoulder' with them.

"In your late War they contributed largely towards some of your most
splendid victories. On Lakes Erie and Champlain, where your fleets
triumphed over a foe superior in numbers and engines of death, they
were manned in a large proportion with men of Color. And in this very
house, in the fall of 1814, a bill passed, receiving the approbation
of all the branches of your Government, authorizing the Governor to
accept the services of a corps of two thousand free people of Color.
Sir, these were times which tried men's souls. In these times it was
no sporting matter to bear arms. These were times when a man who
shouldered a musket did not know but he bared his bosom to receive a
death wound from the enemy ere he laid it aside; and in these times,
these people were found as ready and as willing to volunteer in your
service as any other. They were not compelled to go; they were not
drafted. No; your pride had placed them beyond your compulsory power.
But there was no necessity for its exercise; they were volunteers;
yes, Sir, volunteers to defend that very country from the inroads and
ravages of a ruthless and vindictive foe, which had treated them with
insult, degradation and Slavery."

Volunteers are the best of soldiers; give me the men, whatever be their
complexion, that willingly volunteer, and not those who are compelled
to turn out. Such men do not fight from necessity, nor from mercenary
motives, but from principle.

Said Martindale, of New York, in Congress, 22nd of first month, 1828:
"Slaves, or negroes who had been Slaves, were enlisted as soldiers in
the War of the Revolution; and I myself saw a battalion of them, as
fine martial looking men as I ever saw, attached to the northern army
in the last War, on the march from Plattsburg to Sackett's Harbor."

It is believed that the debate on the military services of Colored men
was a prominent feature in granting them the right of suffrage, though
the ungenerous deed must also be recorded, that Colored citizens of
the Empire States were made subject to a property qualification of two
hundred and fifty dollars.

I am indebted to Rev. Theodore Parker, of Boston, for the following
historical sketch of New York soldiery:

"Not long ago, while the excavations for the vaults of the great
retail dry goods store of New York were going on in 1851, a gentleman
from Boston noticed a large quantity of human bones thrown up by the
workmen. Everybody knows the African countenance; the skulls also bore
unmistakable marks of the race they belonged to. They were shovelled up
with the earth which they had rested in, carried off and emptied into
the sea to fill up a chasm, and make the foundation of a warehouse.

"On inquiry, the Bostonian learned that these were the bones of Colored
American soldiers, who fell in the disastrous battles of Long Island,
in 1776, and of such as died of the wounds then received. At that
day as at this, spite of the declaration that 'all men are created
equal,' the prejudice against the Colored man was intensely strong.
The black and white had fought against the same enemy, under the same
banner, contending for the same 'unalienable right' to life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness. The same shot with promiscuous slaughter
had mowed down Africans and Americans. But in the grave they must be
divided. On the battle field the blacks and whites had mixed their
bravery and their blood, but their ashes must not mingle in the bosom
of their common mother. The white Saxon, exclusive and haughty even in
his burial, must have his place of rest proudly apart from the grave of
the African he had once enslaved.

"Now, after seventy-five years have passed by, the bones of these
forgotten victims of the Revolution are shovelled up by Irish laborers,
carted off, and shot into the sea, as the rubbish of the town. Had
they been white men's relics, how would they have been honored with
sumptuous burial anew, and the purchased prayers and preaching of
Christian divines! Now they are the rubbish of the street!

"True, they were the bones of Revolutionary soldiers; but they were
black men; and shall a city that kidnaps its citizens, honor a Negro
with a grave? What boots it that he fought for our freedom; that he
bled for our liberty; that he died for you and me! Does the 'Nigger'
deserve a tomb? Ask the American state--The American Church!

"Three quarters of a century have passed by since the retreat from
Long Island. What a change since then! From the Washington of that
day to the world's Washington of this, what a change! In America what
alterations! What a change in England! The Briton has emancipated
every bondman; Slavery no longer burns his soil on either Continent,
the East or West. America has a population of Slaves greater than the
people of all England in the reign of Elizabeth. Under the pavement
of Broadway; beneath the walls of the Bazaar, there still lie the
bones of the Colored martyrs to American Independence. Dandies of
either sex swarm gaily over the threshold, heedless of the dead
African--contemptuous of the living. And while these faithful bones
were getting shovelled up and carted to the sea, there was a great
Slave-hunt in New York; a man was kidnapped and carried off to bondage,
by the citizens, at the instigation of politicians, and to the
sacramental delight of 'divines'.

"Happy are the dead Africans, whom British death mowed down! They did
not live to see a man kidnapped in the city which their blood helped


The late James Forten, of Philadelphia, well known as a Colored man
of wealth, intelligence and philanthropy, relates that he remembered
well when Lord Cornwallis was overrunning the South, when thick gloom
clouded the prospect. Then Washington hastily gathered what forces he
was able and hurried to oppose him. "And I remember," said he, "for
I saw them, when the regiments from Rhode Island, Connecticut, and
Massachusetts marched through Philadelphia, that one or two companies
of Colored men were attached to each. The vessels of War of that
period, were all, to a greater or less extent, manned with Colored
men. On board the 'Royal Louis,' of twenty-six guns, commanded by
Captain Stephen Decatur, senior, there were twenty Colored seamen. I
had myself enlisted on this vessel, and on the second cruise was taken
prisoner and shortly after was confined on board the old Jersey Prison
Ship, where I remained a prisoner for seven months. The Alliance,
of thirty-six guns, commanded by Commodore Barry; the Trumbull, of
thirty-two guns, commanded by Captain Nicholson; and the ships South
Carolina, Confederacy, and the Randolph, each were manned in part with
Colored men."

The digression from military service to those rendered voluntarily
during the pestilence, seemed to me warrantable in this connection.

In the autumn of 1793, the yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia,
with peculiar malignity. The insolent and unnatural distinctions of
caste were overturned and the people called Colored, were solicited in
the public papers to come forward, and assist the perishing sick. The
same mouth which had gloried against them in its prosperity, in its
overwhelming adversity implored their assistance. The Colored People
of Philadelphia nobly responded. The then Mayor, Matthew Clarkson,
received their deputation with respect, and recommended their course.
They appointed Absalom Jones and William Gray to superintend it, the
Mayor advertising the public, that by applying to them, aid could be
obtained. This took place about September.

Soon afterwards the sickness increased so dreadfully that it became
next to impossible to remove the corpses. The colored people
volunteered this painful and dangerous duty--did it extensively, and
hired help in doing it. Dr. Rush instructed the two superintendents in
the proper precautions and measures to be used.

A sick white man crept to his chamber window, and entreated the passers
by to bring him a drink of water. Several white men passed, but hurried
on. A foreigner came up--paused--was afraid to supply the help with his
own hands, but stood and offered eight dollars to whomsoever would.
At length, a poor colored man appeared; he heard--stopped--ran for
water--took it to the sick man; and then staid by him to nurse him,
steadily and mildly refusing all pecuniary compensation.

Sarah Boss, a poor black widow, was active in voluntary and benevolent

A poor black man, named Sampson, went constantly from house to house
giving assistance everywhere gratuitously, until he was seized with the
fever and died.

Mary Scott, a woman of Color, attended Mr. Richard Mason and his son,
so kindly and disinterestedly, that the widow, Mrs. R. Mason, settled
an annuity of six pounds upon her for life.

An elderly black nurse, going about most diligently and affectionately,
when asked what pay she wished, used to say, "A dinner, Massa, some
cold winter's day."

A young black woman was offered any price, if she would attend a white
merchant and his wife. She would take no money; but went, saying that,
if she went from holy love, she might hope to be preserved--but not if
she went for money. She was seized with the fever, but recovered.

A black man, riding through the streets, saw a white man push a white
woman out of the house. The woman staggered forward, fell in the gutter
and was too weak to rise. The black man dismounted, and took her gently
to the hospital at Bush-hill.

Absalom Jones and Wm. Gray, the Colored Superintendents, say, "A white
man threatened to shoot us if we passed by his house with a corpse. We
buried him three days afterwards."

About twenty times as many black nurses as white were thus employed
during the sickness.

The following certificate was subsequently given by the Mayor:--

 "Having, during the prevalence of the late malignant disorder, had
 almost daily opportunities of seeing the conduct of Absalom Jones and
 Richard Allan, and the people employed by them to bury their dead,
 I with cheerfulness give this testimony of my approbation of their
 proceedings, as far as the same came under my notice. The diligence,
 attention, and decency of deportment, afforded me at the time much



  Philadelphia, June 23, 1794.

On the capture of Washington by the British forces, it was judged
expedient to fortify, without delay, the principal towns and cities
exposed to similar attacks. The Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia
waited upon three of the principal Colored citizens, namely James
Forten, Bishop Allen, and Absalom Jones, soliciting the aid of
the people of Color in erecting suitable defences for the city.
Accordingly, two thousand five hundred Colored men assembled in the
State House yard, and from thence marched to Gray's ferry, where they
labored for two days, almost without intermission. Their labors were
so faithful and efficient, that a vote of thanks was tendered them by
the committee. A battalion of Colored troops were at the same time
organized in the city, under an officer of the United States army;
and they were on the point of marching to the frontier when peace was

A Colored man, whom I visited in the hospital, called to see me to-day.
He had just got out. He looked very pitiful. His head was bent down. He
said he could not get it erect, his neck was so injured. He is a very
intelligent man, and can read and write. I will give you his story.

Charles Black, over fifty, resides in Lombard Street. Was at home
with his little boy unconscious of what was transpiring without.
Suddenly, the mob rushed into his room, dragged him down stairs, and
beat him so unmercifully that he would have been killed, had not some
humane individuals interposed and prevented further violence. He was
an impressed seaman on board an English sixty-four gun ship, in the
beginning of the War of 1812. When he heard of the war, he refused
to fight against his country, although he had nine hundred dollars
prize money coming to him from the ship. He was, therefore, placed
in irons, and kept a prisoner on board some time and then sent to the
well known Dartmoor prison. He was exchanged, and shipped for France.
Shortly after he was taken and sent back to Dartmoor--was exchanged
a second time, and succeeded in reaching the United States. He soon
joined the fleet on Lake Champlain, under M'Donough; was with him in
the celebrated battle which gave honor (?) to the American arms. He was
wounded, but never received a pension. His father was in the battle of
Bunker Hill, and his grandfather fought in the old French War.


(From the Burlington (N. J.) Gazette.)


The attention of many of our citizens has doubtless been arrested by
the appearance of an old Colored man, who might have been seen sitting
in front of his residence, in East Union Street, respectfully raising
his hat to those who might be passing by. His attenuated frame, his
silvered head, his feeble movements, combine to prove that he is
very aged; and yet comparatively few are aware that he is among the
survivors of the gallant army who fought for the liberties of our
country, "in the days which tried men's souls."

On Monday last we stopped to speak to him, and asked him how he was. He
asked the day of the month, and upon being told that it was the 24th
day of May, replied with trembling lips, "I am very old--I am a hundred
years old to-day."

His name is Oliver Cromwell, and he says he was born at the Black
Horse (now Columbus) in this county, in the family of John Hutchin.
He enlisted in a company commanded by Captain Lowery, attached to the
2nd New Jersey Regiment, under the command of Colonel Isaac Shreve.
He was at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Monmouth
and Yorktown, at which latter place, he told us, he saw the last
man killed. Although his faculties are failing, yet he relates many
interesting reminiscences of the Revolution. He was with the army at
the retreat of the Delaware, on the memorable crossing of the 25th of
December, 1776, and relates the story of the battles on the succeeding
days with enthusiasm. He gives the details of the march from Trenton
to Princeton, and told us, with much humor, that they "knocked the
British about lively" at the latter place. He was also at the battle
of Springfield, and says that he saw the house burning in which Mrs.
Caldwell was shot, at Connecticut Farms.


Even in the Slaveholding States did Colored people magnanimously "brave
the battle field," developing a heroism indeed as though their own
liberty was to be a recompense. But we found no proof that the boasted
chivalry of the Palmetto State extended the boon demanded by simple

The celebrated Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, in his speech on
the Missouri question, and in defiance of the Slave representation of
the South, made the following admission:

  "They (the Colored people) were in numerous instances the pioneers,
  and in all the laborers of our armies. To their hands were owing the
  greatest part of the fortifications raised for the protection of the

  Fort Moultrie gave, at an early period of the experience an untried
  valor of our citizens, immortality to the American arms."



The Lancaster (Ohio) Gazette, February, 1849, announces the death at
that place, of Samuel Jenkins, a Colored man, aged 115 years. He was a
Slave of Captain Breadwater, in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1771, and
participated in the memorable campaign of Gen. Braddock.

       *       *       *       *       *

Testimony of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, from his speech in Congress on
the imprisonment of Colored Seamen, Sept. 1850:--

 * * * "I have an impression, however, that, not indeed in these
 piping times of peace, but in the time of war, when quite a boy, I
 have seen black soldiers enlisted, who did faithful and excellent
 service. But however it may have been in the Northern States, I can
 tell the Senator what happened in the Southern States at this period.
 I believe that I shall be borne out in saying, that no regiments did
 better service at New Orleans than did the black regiments which were
 organized under the direction of Gen. Jackson himself, after a most
 glorious appeal to the patriotism and honor of the people of Color of
 that region and which, after they came out of the war, received the
 thanks of Gen. Jackson in a proclamation which has been thought worthy
 of being inscribed on the pages of history."


In 1814, when New Orleans was in danger, and the proud and criminal
distinctions of caste were again demolished by one of those emergencies
in which nature puts to silence for the moment the base partialities of
art, the free Colored people were called into the field in common with
the whites; and the importance of their services was thus acknowledged
by Gen. Jackson:--

  "Headquarters Seventh Military District, Mobile,
  September 21, 1874.

  "To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana:

 Through a mistaken policy, you have heretofore been deprived of a
 participation in the glorious struggle for national rights, in which
 our country is engaged. This no longer shall exist.

 "As Sons of Freedom, you are now called upon to defend our most
 inestimable blessings. As Americans, your country looks with
 confidence to her adopted children for a valorous support, as a
 faithful return for the advantages enjoyed under her mild and
 equitable government. As fathers, husbands, and brothers, you are
 summoned to rally around the standard of the Eagle, to defend all
 which is dear in existence.

 "Your country, although calling for your existence, does not wish
 you to engage in her cause without remunerating you for the services
 rendered. Your intelligent minds are not to be led away by false
 representations--your love of honor would cause you to despise the man
 who should attempt to deceive you. With the sincerity of a soldier and
 in the language of truth I address you.

 "To every noble-hearted free man of color, volunteering to serve
 during the present contest with Great Britain, and no longer, there
 will be paid the same bounty in money and lands, now received by
 the white soldiers of the United States, namely, one hundred and
 twenty-four dollars in money, and one hundred and sixty acres of land.
 The non-commissioned officers and privates will also be entitled to
 the same monthly pay, daily rations and clothes furnished to any
 American soldier.

 "On enrolling yourselves in companies, the Major General commanding
 will select officers, for your government, from your white fellow
 citizens. Your non-commissioned officers will be appointed from among

 "Due regard will be paid to the feelings of freemen and soldiers.
 You will not, by being associated with white men in the same corps,
 be exposed to improper comparisons or unjust sarcasm. As a distinct,
 independent battalion or regiment, pursuing the path of glory, you
 will, undivided, receive the applause and gratitude of your countrymen.

 "To assure you of the sincerity of my intentions, and my anxiety to
 engage your invaluable services to our country, I have communicated my
 wishes to the Governor of Louisiana, who is fully informed as to the
 manner of enrollments, and will give you every necessary information
 on the subject of this address.

  Andrew Jackson, Major Gen. Commanding."

The second proclamation is one of the highest compliments ever paid by
a military chief to his soldiers.

On December 18, 1814, General Jackson issued, in the French language,
the following address to the free people of color:

 "Soldiers! When on the banks of the Mobile I called you to take up
 arms, inviting you to partake the perils and glory of your white
 fellow citizens, I expected much from you, for I was not ignorant that
 you possessed qualities most formidable to an invading enemy. I knew
 with what fortitude you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the
 fatigues of a campaign. I knew well how you loved your native country,
 and that you, as well as ourselves, had to defend what man holds most
 dear--his parents, wife, children and property. You have done more
 than I expected. In addition to the previous qualities I before knew
 you to possess, I found among you a noble enthusiasm, which leads to
 the performance of great things.

 "Soldiers! The President of the United States shall hear how
 praiseworthy was your conduct in the hour of danger, and the
 representatives of the American people will give you the praise your
 exploits entitle you to. Your General anticipates them in applauding
 your noble ardor.

 "The enemy approaches; his vessels cover our lakes; our brave citizens
 are united, and all contention has ceased among them. Their only
 dispute is, who shall win the prize of valor, or who the most glory,
 its noblest reward. By order, Thomas Butler, Aide-de-Camp."

The Pennsylvania Freeman, of March 10, 1851, heralds as follows:

 "The article below from the New Orleans Picayune, of a recent date,
 revives an important historical fact, which, with similar evidence of
 the devotion of free people of color, to their country's safety and
 welfare, notwithstanding the injustice they have received from its
 hands--the enemies of the colored people have been careful to conceal
 in their calumnies against this injured people. Let those men read and
 ponder it, who fear dangers to the nation from the presence in it of a
 population of colored freemen, protected by law in the full possession
 of all their rights. The incident narrated is also a burning rebuke
 from a slave-holding community to the vulgar negro-hatred of the
 North, which drives worthy colored men from popular processions,
 parades, schools, churches, and the so-called 'respectable avocations
 of life.'

 "The Free Colored Veterans.--Not the least interesting, although the
 most novel feature of the procession yesterday (celebration of the
 Battle of New Orleans,) was the presence of ninety of the colored
 veterans who bore a conspicuous part in the dangers of the day they
 were now for the first time called to assist in celebrating, and who,
 by their good conduct in presence of the enemy, deserved and received
 the approbation of their illustrious Commander-in-Chief. During the
 thirty-six years that have passed away since they assisted to repel
 the invaders from our shores, these faithful men have never before
 participated in the annual rejoicings for the victory which their
 valor contributed to gain. Their good deeds have been consecrated
 only in their own memories, or lived but to claim a passing notice on
 the page of the historian. Yet who more than they deserve the thanks
 of the country and the gratitude of the succeeding generations? Who
 rallied with more alacrity in response to the summons of danger? Who
 endured the hardships of the camp, or faced with greater courage the
 perils of the fight? If in that hazardous hour, when our homes were
 menaced with the horrors of war, we did not disdain to call upon the
 Colored population to assist in repelling the invading horde, we
 should not when the danger is past, refuse to permit them to unite
 with us in celebrating the glorious event which they helped to make
 so memorable an epoch in our history. We were not too exalted to
 mingle with them in the affray; they were not too humble to join in
 our rejoicings.

 "Such we think is the universal opinion of our citizens. We conversed
 with many yesterday and without exception they expressed approval of
 the invitation which had been extended to the colored veterans to take
 part in the ceremonies of the day, and gratification at seeing them in
 a conspicuous place in the procession.

 "The respectability of their appearance and the modesty of their
 demeanor made an impression on every observer and elicited unqualified
 approbation. Indeed, though in saying so we do not mean disrespect
 to any one else, we think that they constituted decidedly the most
 interesting portion of the pageant, as they certainly attracted the
 most attention."

The editor, after further remarks upon the procession, adding of its
Colored members, "We reflected that, beneath their dark bosoms were
sheltered faithful hearts, susceptible of the noblest impulses," thus
alludes to the free Colored population of New Orleans:

 "As a class, they are peaceable, orderly, and respectable people, and
 many of them own large amounts of property among us. Their interests,
 their homes, and their affections, are here, and such strong ties
 are not easily broken by the force of theoretical philanthropy, or
 imaginative sentimentality. They have been true hitherto, and we will
 not do them the injustice to doubt a continuance of their fidelity.
 While they may be certain that insubordination will be promptly
 punished, deserving actions will always meet with their due reward in
 the esteem and gratitude of the community."

Heroism Rewarded.--A correspondent of the New York Observer, writing
from the West, says:--

 "Before leaving our boat, we must not omit to notice one of the
 waiters in the cabin. He is a man of history. That tall, straight,
 active, copper-colored man, with a sparkling eye and intelligent
 countenance, was Col. Clay's servant at Buena Vista. Fearless of
 danger, and faithful to his master, he attended the Colonel in
 the midst of the fatal charge, saw him fall from his horse, and,
 surrounded by the murderous Mexicans, at last carried the mangled dead
 body from the field. The Hon. Henry, in gratitude for such fidelity
 to his gallant son, has allowed this man to hire himself out for five
 years, and to retain half the proceeds, and at the end of that time
 gives him half his freedom."

That is, a human being perils his life to save the life or bear off the
body of another human being, and for this act, he is to receive one
half of his own earnings, for five years, and at the end of that time,
to be made a present of to himself!--Boston Christian Register.


The colored citizens of Ohio held a Mass Convention at Cleveland, Sept.
8th, 1852. From their proceedings I cull the following incidents and
tributes as peculiarly appropriate to a military history of colored

Rev. Dr. J. W. C. Pennington delivered a speech, of which Mr. Howland,
a colored phonographic reporter, furnishes this sketch:--

 "The Doctor took the stand and delighted the convention with a short,
 brilliant and instructive address on the history of the past, and the
 part which the colored people have taken in the struggles of this
 nation for independence and its various wars since its achievement.

 "Mr. P. is a graduate of America's "Peculiar Institution." His
 graduation fees were paid only very recently by the beneficence of
 sundry English ladies and gentlemen; and his Doctorate of Divinity was
 conferred on him by one of the German Universities. Dr. Pennington
 claimed for his race the honor of being the first Americans whose
 bosoms were fired by the spirit of American Independence. And that
 claim, we think, he amply justified by documentary evidence.

 "He read sundry antique papers, collected by him with great pains from
 the archives of the State of New York, showing, that some thousands
 of Colored people in that State, thirty years before the Declaration
 of Independence was promulgated, were charged by the King of Great
 Britain with conspiring against his authority, attempting to throw
 off their obedience to him, and seeking to possess themselves of the
 Government of the Colony of New York. Some of them were banished, and
 others hanged. Those Colored fathers of his, said the Rev. Doctor,
 attributed their Slavery to King George, and maintained their rights
 to freedom to be inviolable.

 "Subsequently, when the white fathers of our Revolution, walking in
 the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors, declared against
 Britain's King, they said to his Colored fathers: That King did make
 you Slaves. Now come you and help us break his rule in this country,
 and that done, we'll all be free together.

 "Dr. P. exhibited to the audience an autograph petition of the Colored
 people of Connecticut to the Government of Connecticut, presented
 immediately after the Revolutionary war, and praying that Government
 to comply with the promise which had been made them of freedom, and
 under which they had helped fight the battles of that war.

 "He read, also, an autograph paper of George Washington, dismissing
 from the service of that war, with high recommendation of their
 courage and efficiency, several Colored men; and also certificates of
 a like character from numbers of officers, both naval and military, in
 both wars with England. We wish we could give Dr. P.'s whole speech,
 and especially in his own well-chosen words."

The Convention then adjourned to join in the general jubilee, over some
of the events which Colored people have helped to make conspicuous.

Thursday morning at sunrise, a salute was fired in the public square,
in honor of the day, by the "Cleveland Light Artillery," and another at
nine o'clock, as the procession formed, of which the orator of the day,
subsequently said: "They were the first thunders of artillery that ever
awaked the echoes of these hills, in honor of the Colored people. But
they shall not be the last."

Says the "Daily True Democrat," of the 10th inst:

 "The principal feature in the ceremonials of this jubilee, was the
 address of our fellow-citizen, Mr. William H. Day; a performance
 worthy of its great purpose, and therefore most creditable to the
 author. Not often have we heard an address listened to with so
 absorbing an attention, nor observed an audience to be more deeply
 moved, than was Mr. Day, by some parts of that address. After noticing
 the day, the 9th of September, which had been selected for their
 jubilation, and illustration as pre-eminent suitableness to the
 occasion, by happy references to many illustrious events of which it
 was the anniversary, Mr. Day addressed himself to an able vindication
 of the claims of his race in this country, to an equal participation
 in the exercise and enjoyment of those American rights which large
 numbers of that race, in common with the men of fairer complexion, had
 fought, suffered and died to establish. Behind the orator sat seven or
 eight veteran Colored men. Mr. D.'s apostrophe to those veterans was
 as touching as admirable, and produced a profound sensation."

Among the speakers were several who took part in some of the battles of
the country. One of these men is Mr. John Julius, of Pittsburgh, Pa.


Among the Europeans who left their homes and rallied in defence of
American Independence, history records no more illustrious names than
Lafayette and Kosciusko. Not being tainted with American Colorphobia
they each expressed regret that their services had been made a partial
instead of a general boon. Read the extract from Lafayette's letter to

 "I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America, if I could
 have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of Slavery."

During his visit to the United States, in 1825, he made inquiries for
several Colored soldiers whom he remembered as participating with him
in various skirmishes.


Kosciusko, the gallant Pole, was young when the news reached his ear
that America was endeavoring to release her neck from Britain's yoke.
He promptly devoted himself to the service, and displayed a heroism
which won universal respect. Washington loved and honored him, and
the soldiers idolized his bravery; but his manly heart was saddened
to learn that the Colored man was not to be a recipient of those
rights--rights, too, which many a sable soldier had fought to obtain,
and Kosciusko naturally presumed that when the victory was achieved,
all, irrespective of Color or accidental difference, would be freely
invited to the banquet.

But this unsophisticated Polish General was doomed to disappointment.
Kosciusko, with the feeling that all Americans should have been proud
to exhibit--but, sad to tell, few did so--endeavored to render some
signal compensation to those with whose wrongs his own had taught
him to sympathize; and, as a grateful tribute to the neglected and
forgotten Colored man, he appropriated $20,000 of his hard earnings to
purchase and educate Colored children. But, by the laws of Virginia
where the bequest was to be carried into effect, this generous object
was defeated.

On the last visit to the United States of this illustrious donor, the
will was put into the hands of Thomas Jefferson, who was appointed
Executor, to purchase slaves and educate them, so as, in his own words,
"to make them better sons and better daughters." Jefferson transferred
the same to Benjamin L. Lear. In 1830, the bequest then amounting
to $25,000 was claimed by the legal heirs of the donor. Interested
parties subsequently recommended that the fund, if recovered, should be
employed by the trustees in buying and educating Slave children, with
the view of sending them to Liberia; an object far enough at variance
from the donor's intention.

This matter has been in litigation a long time, and I have been unable
to learn the conclusion. The chain of circumstances reminds me of the
following question, once put to a Florida planter of twenty-five years

 "Has any property left by will to any Colored person ever been
 honestly and fairly administered by any white person?" Mark his
 answer: "Such instances might possibly have happened, but never to my

Within a recent period, several companies of Colored men in New York
City have enrolled themselves "a la militaire." The New York "Tribune"
of August, 1852, awards them the following commendation:

 "Colored Soldiers.--Among the many parades within a few days we
 noticed yesterday a soldierly looking company of Colored men, on their
 way homeward from a target or parade drill. They looked like men,
 handled their arms like men, and should occasion demand, we presume
 they would fight like men.

 "At the New Bedford celebration August 1, 1851, of British West India
 Emancipation, the procession was escorted by a Colored Company of
 Cadets from New York. Among the civilities extended in honor of the
 day was an invitation to the military and strangers to visit the
 splendid residence and ornamental grounds of James Arnold, Esq.,
 who, with his family, tendered the utmost kindness and courtesy in
 exhibiting the beauties of nature and art that so lavishly adorn this
 New Bedford palace. Rodney French, Esq., also with characteristic
 courtesy threw open the doors of his hospitable mansion to the
 military visitors, and a few invited guests. These voluntary
 manifestations of good will, at once honorable to the donors and
 grateful to the recipients should be accepted as a harbinger for a
 better day coming.

 "A number of the chivalric portion of Colored Bostonians have also
 been taking initiatory steps for a military company, and accordingly
 petitioned the Legislature for a charter, the claims of which were
 presented by Charles Lenox Remond and Robert Morris, Esq., but like
 the prayers of the Attucks petitioners, they, too, had leave to

"I can wait," were the memorable words of John Quincy Adams when his
free speech was stopped on the floor of Congress.

The world will bear witness that we have waited; and oh, how patiently!
We have learned how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong; but
though familiar with we shall never grow reconciled to the discipline.
"Our hearts, though often times made to bleed, will gush afresh at
every wound."

The treatment meted out to us in this country, is but an illustration
of hating those whom we have injured, and calls to mind that scene
from Waverly, where Fergus Mac Iver replies to his friend on being
led to execution. "You see the compliment they pay to our highland
strength and courage; here we have lain until our limbs are cramped
into palsy and now they send a file of soldiers with loaded muskets
to prevent our taking the castle by storm." The analogy is found in
the omnipresent and omnipotent influence of American Pro-Slavery in
crushing every noble aspiration of the unoffending Colored men.

But despite the reign of terror inflicted upon us by the combined
influences of the Fugitive Slave Law, and the American Colonization
Society, we shall manfully contend for our rights, and as hopefully
bide our time, trusting that an enlightened public sentiment will soon
yield us the Justice so long withheld; so far as in Nature the smiles
of summer are made sweeter by the frowns of winter, the calm of ocean
is made more placid by the tempest that has preceded it, so in this
moral battle these incidental skirmishes will contribute to render the
hour of triumph soon a blissful realization. So sure as night precedes
day, winter wakes spring, and war ends with peace, just as sure will
the persevering efforts of Freedom's army be crowned with Victory's
perennial laurels.

From the foregoing it will be seen that the seven years conflict and
also the war of 1812, were both dotted by the devotion and bravery of
Colored Americans, despite the persecutions heaped Olympus high upon
them by their fellow countrymen. They have ever proved loyal and ready
to worship or die, if need be, at Freedom's shrine. The "amor patriae"
has always burned vividly on the altar of their hearts. They love their
native land, "its hills and valleys green." The white man's banquet has
been held and loud paeans to liberty have reached the sky above, while
the Colored American's share has been to stand outside and wait for the
crumbs that fall from Freedom's festive board.

A tribute, by an emancipator, being an extract from the will of A. P.
Upshur, a member of President Tyler's Cabinet:

 "I make this as my last will and testament:

 "1 * * * *--

 "2 * * * *--

 "3. I emancipate and set free, my servant, David Rich, and direct
 my executors to give him one hundred dollars. I recommend him, in
 the strongest manner, to the respect, esteem and confidence of any
 community in which he may happen to live. He has been my Slave for
 twenty-four years, during which time he has been trusted to every
 extent, and in every respect. My confidence in him has been unbounded;
 his relation to myself and family has always been such as to afford
 him daily opportunities to deceive and injure us; and yet he has never
 been detected in a serious fault, nor ever an intentional breach of
 the decorums of his station. His intelligence is of a high order, his
 integrity above all suspicion, and his sense of right and propriety
 always correct and even delicate and refined. I feel that he is justly
 entitled to carry this certificate from me, into the new relations
 which he now must form. It is due to his long and most faithful
 services and to the sincere and steady friendship which I bear him. In
 the uninterrupted and confidential intercourse of twenty-five years, I
 have never given, nor had occasion to give him, an unpleasant word. I
 know no man who has fewer faults, or more excellencies, than he.

  Signed,      A. P. UPSHUR."

[From the Alexandria, D. C., Gazette.]


Upon a recent visit to the tomb of Washington, I was much gratified
by the alterations and improvements around it. Eleven colored men
were industriously employed in leveling the earth and turf around
the sepulchre. There was an earnest expression of feeling about them
that induced me to inquire if they belonged to the respected lady of
the mansion. They stated they were a few of the many Slaves freed by
George Washington and they had offered their services upon this last
melancholy occasion, as the only return in their power to make to the
remains of the man who had been more than a father to them; and they
should continue their labors as long as anything should be pointed out
for them to do. I was so interested in this conduct that I inquired
their several names, and the following were given me:

 "Joseph Smith, Sambo Anderson, William Anderson, his son, Berkley
 Clark, George Lear, Dick Jasper, Morris Jasper, Levi Richardson, Joe
 Richardson, William Moss, William Hays and Nancy Squander, cooking for
 the men--Fairfax County, Va., Nov. 14, 1835."


[From Godey's Lady's Book, June, 1849.]


By Rev. Henry F. Harrington.

Primus Hall.--Throughout the Revolutionary war he was the body servant
of Col. Pickering, of Massachusetts. He was free and communicative and
delighted to sit down with an interested listener and pour out those
stories of absorbing and exciting anecdotes with which his memory was

It is well known that there was no officer in the whole American army
whose friendship was dearer to Washington, and whose counsel was
more esteemed by him than that of the honest and patriotic Colonel
Pickering. He was on intimate terms with him, and unbosomed himself to
him with as little reserve as, perhaps, to any confidant in the army.
Whenever he was stationed within such a distance as to admit of it, he
passed many hours with the Colonel, consulting him upon anticipated
measures and delighting in his reciprocated friendship.

Washington was, therefore, often brought into contact with the servant
of Col. Pickering, the departed Primus. An opportunity was afforded to
the Negro to note him, under circumstances very different from those
in which he is usually brought before the public and which possess,
therefore, a striking charm. I remember one of these anecdotes from the
mouth of Primus. One of them is very slight, indeed, yet so peculiar
as to be replete with interest. The authenticity of both may be fully
relied upon.

Washington once came to Col. Pickering's quarters and found him absent.

"It is no matter," said he to Primus, "I am greatly in need of
exercise. You must help me to get some before your master returns."

Under Washington's directions the Negro busied himself in some simple
preparations. A stake was driven into the ground about breast high, a
rope tied to it, and then Primus was desired to stand at some distance
and hold it horizontally extended. The boys, the country over, are
familiar with this plan of getting sport. With true boyish zest,
Washington ran forward and backward for some time, jumping over the
rope as he came and went, until he expressed himself satisfied with the

Repeatedly afterward, when a favorable opportunity offered he would
say--"Come, Primus, I am in need of exercise," whereat the Negro would
drive down the stake and Washington would jump over the rope until he
had exerted himself to his content.

On the second occasion, the great General was engaged in earnest
consultation with Col. Pickering in his tent until after the night
had fairly set in. Headquarters were at a considerable distance and
Washington signified his preference to staying with the Colonel over
night, provided he had a spare blanket and straw.

"Oh yes," said Primus, who was appealed to, "plenty of straw and

Upon assurance, Washington continued his conference with the Colonel
until it was time to retire to rest. Two humble beds were spread side
by side, in the tent, and the officers laid themselves down, while
Primus seemed to be busy with duties that required his attention
before he himself could sleep. He worked, or appeared to work, until
the breathing of the prostrate gentlemen satisfied him that they were
sleeping; and then, seating himself on a box or stool, he leaned his
head on his hands to obtain such repose as so inconvenient a position
would allow. In the middle of the night Washington awoke. He looked
about and descried the Negro as he sat. He gazed at him a while and
then spoke.

"Primus!" said he calling, "Primus!"

Primus started up and rubbed his eyes. "What, General?" said he.

Washington rose up in bed. "Primus," said he, "what did you mean by
saying that you had blankets and straw enough! Here you have given up
your blanket and straw to me, that I may sleep comfortably, while you
are obliged to sit through the night."

"It's nothing, General," said Primus. "It's nothing. I'm well enough.
Don't trouble yourself about me, General, but go to sleep again. No
matter about me. I sleep very good."

"But it is matter--it is matter," said Washington, earnestly. "I cannot
do it, Primus. If either is to sit up, I will. But I think there is no
need of either sitting up. The blanket is wide enough for two. Come
and lie down with me."

"Oh, no, General!" said Primus, starting, and protesting against the
proposition. "No; let me sit here. I'll do very well on the stool."

"I say come and lie down here," said Washington, authoritatively.
"There is room for both and I insist upon it!"

He threw open the blanket as he spoke, and moved to one side of the
straw. Primus professes to have been exceedingly shocked at the idea of
lying under the same covering with the commander-in-chief, but his tone
was so resolute and determined that he could not hesitate. He prepared
himself, therefore, and laid himself down by Washington; and on the
same straw, and under the same blanket, the General and the Negro
servant slept until morning.


  John G. Whittier's Letter to the National Era.
  July, 1847.

  Botta's History and Hewes' Reminiscences.
  Boston Transcript, March, 1851.

  Ramsay's History of the American Revolution,
  Vol. I.

  Speech of Hon. Anson Burlingame, October 13,

  Suffolk Probate Record, published in the Liberator,
  February, 1847.

  Speech of Hon. Wistam Burgess, January, 1828.

  Speech of Geo. Eustis, December 12, 1820.

  Thatcher's Military Journal, August 3, 1777.

  Speech of Dr. Clarke in N. Y. Constitutional Convention,

  Speech of Congressman Martindale, January 21,

  Sketch of Rev. Theodore Parker.

  Certificate of Mayor Matthew Clarkson, of Philadelphia,
  June 23, 1794.

  Burlington (N. J.) Gazette.

  Speech of Hon. Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina.

  Lancaster (Ohio) Gazette, February, 1849.

  Speech of Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, September,

  General Andrew Jackson's First Proclamation,
  September 21, 1814.

  General Jackson's Second Proclamation, December
  18, 1814.

  The Pennsylvania Freeman, March 10, 1851,
  (quoting from New Orleans Picayune.)

  Boston Christian Register, (quoting from the
  N. Y. Observer.)

  Speech of Dr. J. W. C. Pennington, September 8,

  Marquis de Lafayette's letter to Clarkson.

  General Kosciusko's Will.

  New York Tribune, August, 1852.

  Will of Hon. A. P. Upshur, Member of President
  Tyler's Cabinet.

  Alexandria (Va.) Gazette.

  Godey's Lady's Book, June, 1849.

                          Transcribers Notes:

  Italics are shown thus: _sloping_.

  Small capitals have been capitalised.

  Punctuation has been preserved as it appears in the original

  Archaic and variable spelling has been preserved.

  Variations in hyphenation and compound words have been preserved.

  Obvious typos were silently corrected.

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