Soldiers of Color

September 2, 2012

Few Americans understand how prevalent were blacks or “colored” soldiers amongst those serving in George Washington’s Continental Army.

“During the winter of 1777-78, dozens of black Virginians served in every one of the state regiments, freezing, starving, and dying at Valley Forge. By February 1778, the survivors were marching with white comrades through the snow, practicing Baron von Steuben’s as yet unfamiliar drill. When the Steuben-trained army proved its mettle at Monmouth in June, about 700 blacks fought side-by-side with whites. Eight weeks later, an army report listed 755 blacks in the Continental Army, including 138 Blacks in the Virginia Line. During the winter of 1777-78, dozens of black Virginians served in every one of the state regiments, freezing, starving, and dying at Valley Forge. By February 1778, the survivors were marching with white comrades through the snow, practicing Baron von Steuben’s as yet unfamiliar drill. When the Steuben-trained army proved its mettle at Monmouth in June, about 700 blacks fought side-by-side with whites. Eight weeks later, an army report listed 755 blacks in the Continental Army, including 138 Blacks in the Virginia Line.” (“The Revolution’s Black Soldiers” by Robert Selig)

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Bounty Land Warrant

September 26, 2010

I found this certificate of my Revolutionary War ancestor for 200 acres of Bounty Land at the Kentucky Land Office online.

John Doland 1785

Revolutionary War Bounty Land

“Under the terms of the Proclamation of 1763, issued by England’s King George III, soldiers who had served in the French & Indian War were paid with bounty land warrants. The warrants were used to obtain land patents; the rank of the soldier determined the acreage awarded by the warrant. The same principle of “land for military service” was used to pay soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Each colony determined the acreage per rank, the requisite duration of service, and the location of their respective Military District. The Military District for Virginia was located in southwestern Kentucky and southcentral Ohio. This website includes information regarding Military Warrants issued to Virginia veterans prior to 1792 and all Kentucky patents authorized by those warrants.”


James Monroe’s 250th Birthday

April 18, 2008

Revolutionary War Image

This year marks the 250th anniversary of President James Monroe’s birth in Westmoreland County, Virginia on 28 April 1758. President James Monroe attended William and Mary College, but when war broke out, he left college to join the rebels. He and George Washington were the only Presidents to have served as officers during the American Revolutionary War. James Monroe participated in six major battles, wintering at Valley Forge, crossing the Delaware with General George Washington, and being seriously wounded at Trenton, New Jersey. He was cited for conspicuous bravery. After the war, he worked as a lawyer in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He died  July 4th, 1831, the third president to die on Independence Day.

One of the events scheduled in honor of his 250th birthday is the placing of a memorial tablet at the Monroe family farm by the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution. The farm is located between Colonial Beach and Route 205. This special ceremony will occur on Saturday, April 26th, 2008, at 11 a.m.

On Monday, April 28th, 2008 at 11 a.m. there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of America’s fifth President, James Monroe, at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Wreaths will be presented on behalf of President George W. Bush, the James Monroe Memorial Foundation, and various lineage societies.

That same day, April 28th, at 4 p.m., the Garrison Commander of Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia will hold a special Retreat Ceremony at the Flagstaff Bastion. Military personnel are requested to wear duty uniforms, and civilians are asked to wear business attire. To attend this special event, an RSVP must be made by April 22nd, 2008. 

For more information on any of these events, see www.MonroeFoundation.org.

This portrait of James Monroe is from Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

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The image, James Monroe, is subject to copyright by afagen. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


Soldier’s Quarters

December 31, 2007

Revolutionary War Image

Revolutionary War Soldier’s Cabin at Mount Vernon Museum, Mount Vernon, Virginia.

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The image, Soldier’s Quarters, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


Virginia’s Fighting Quakers

August 1, 2007

Revolutionary War Image

By the mid 1700s, the colony of Virginia had a substantial population of Quakers. However, for various reasons, the Society of Friends moved West and left sparsley attended or abandoned meeting houses along the way. One of the causes of the great migration of Virginia Quaker families into Ohio had to do with the Revolutionary War. Young men of the best Quaker families were most eager to join on with the Revolutionary Army of Virginia. They were promptly disowned by their Quaker meetings. Many of those fighting Quakers who survived the War were reinstated into membership after the War was finished and won. They, along with descendants of non-Quaker fallen soldiers were granted land bounties by the Legislature of Virginia in the Virginia Military District of Ohio. This was an enormous tract of land set off by the United States Congress for the Commonwealth of Virginia to repay her citizen soldiers for their sacrifices and service. The District of Ohio included the present day counties of Clermont, Brown, Adams, Highland, Clinton, Fayette, Madison, Union and portions of Warren, Greene, Clark, Champaigne, Logan, Hardin, Marion, Delaware, Franklin, Pickaway, Ross, Pike and Scioto. Over 8000 land warrants were issued to Virginia soldiers in the Virginia Military District of Ohio alone. The warrants ranged from 100 acres to an army private who served three years, up to 1100 acres to a general who served three years. These warrants became a great inducement for Virginia’s Revolutionary War veterans to go west to Ohio. A number of so-called Fighting Quakers from Virginia’s South River Meeting received such warrants.

If you are seeking your own ancestors, start with “Virginia Revolutionary Records” by Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh, Volume I. ~~Edna Barney

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Artillery Guard Duty

July 1, 2007

Revolutionary War Image

One of the chores of being a soldier is guarding the artillery, such as this patriot of old is performing at historic Mabie House, Rotterdam Junction, New York. The image is from a Revolutionary War reenactment.

The Slide Show

The image, Artillery Guard Duty, is subject to copyright by gsxrt. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.

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Black Revolutionaries

February 5, 2007

Revolutionary War Soldiers

“. . . no regiment is to be seen in which there are not negroes in abundance: and among them are able-bodied, strong, and brave fellows.” —Hessian Officer’s Testimony, October 23, 1777

On January 2, 1778, Washington forwarded a letter from General James Varnum to the governor of Rhode Island advising that his troop quota should be completed with black soldiers. In February of 1778, the Rhode Island legislature approved the request. Enlisted slaves were to receive freedom in return for military service. White Quaker Christopher Greene led Rhode Island’s first black regiment at its first engagement at the battle of Newport, July 29-August 31 1778, where it held off two Hessian regiments. This same regiment also participated at the battle of Yorktown. Slaves who enlisted in the Continental Army rarely received regular pay or bounty land. Their rewards were subsistence, freedom, and a cash payment at war’s end according to “The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress“.

“During the winter of 1777-78, dozens of black Virginians served in every one of the state regiments, freezing, starving, and dying at Valley Forge. By February 1778, the survivors were marching with white comrades through the snow, practicing Baron von Steuben’s as yet unfamiliar drill. When the Steuben-trained army proved its mettle at Monmouth in June, about 700 blacks fought side-by-side with whites. Eight weeks later, an army report listed 755 blacks in the Continental Army, including 138 Blacks in the Virginia Line.” from  (“The Revolution’s Black Soldiers” by Robert Selig)

The Revolution’s Black Soldiers