from the moment of enlisting, and to receive pay, bounty, &c., precisely like other soldiers.
A Black regiment was raised under this policy, which fought bravely at the battle of Rhode Island
and elsewhere; as many of those composing it had done prior to its organization.
, New York,2
and other States, followed the example of Rhode Island
, in offering liberty to slaves who would enlist in the patriot armies; and the policy of a general freeing and arming of able and willing slaves was urged by Hon. Henry Laurens
, of S. C.
, by his son Col. John Laurens
, by Col. Alexander Hamilton
, Gen. Lincoln
, James Madison
, Gen. Greene
, and other ardent patriots.
It is highly probable that, had the Revolutionary War
lasted a few years longer, it would have then abolished Slavery throughout the Union
Sir Henry Clinton
, the King
's commander in the North
a Proclamation, premising that “the enemy have adopted a practice of enrolling negroes among their troops ;” and thereupon offering to pay for “all negroes taken in arms,” and guaranteeing, to every one who should “desert the Rebel
standard, full security to follow within these lines any occupation which he shall think proper.”
Lord Cornwallis, during his Southern campaign, proclaimed freedom to all slaves who would join him; and his subordinates — Tarleton
especially — took away all who could be induced to accompany them.
, in a letter to Dr. Gordon
estimates that this policy cost Virginia
no less than 30,000 slaves in one year; most of them dying soon of small-pox and camp-fever.
Thirty were carried off by Tarleton
's own homestead; and Jefferson
“Had this been to give them freedom, he would have done right.”
The War of 1812 with Great Britain
was much shorter than that of the Revolution, and was not, like that, a struggle for life or death.
Yet, short as it was, negro soldiers — who, at the outset, would doubtless have been rejected — were in demand before its close.
New York authorized6
the raising of two regiments of “freemen of color” --to receive the same pay and allowances as Whites — and provided that “any able-bodied slave” might enlist therein “with the written assent of his master or mistress,” who was to receive his pay aforesaid, while the negro received his freedom: being manumitted at the time of his honorable discharge.
's employment of Blacks in his famous defense of New Orleans — his public and vigorous reprobation7
of the “mistaken policy” which had hitherto excluded them from the service, and his emphatic attestation of their bravery and good conduct while serving under his eye — are too well known to require citation or comment.
When, upon hearing of the bombardment of Fort Sumter
, and still more, after the riotous massacre of Massachusetts volunteers in tile streets of Baltimore
, the city of New York
blazed out in a fervid though not very profound enthusiasm, and military organization