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The secret journals of Congress (vol. i., pp. 107, 110), March 29, 1779, show that the States of South Carolina and Georgia were ‘recommended to raise immediately three thousand able-bodied negroes. That every negro who shall well and faithfully serve as a soldier to the end of the present war, and shall then return his arms, be emancipated and receive the sum of fifty dollars.’

Washington, Hamilton, Greene, Lincoln, and Lawrence, warmly approved of the measure. In 1783 the General Assembly of Virginia passed ‘An act directing the emancipation of certain slaves who have served as soldiers in this war.’ [420]

We next give an extract from an act of the ‘State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, in General Assembly,’ February session, 1778:—

Whereas, for the preservation of the rights and liberties of the United States, it is necessary that the whole powers of Government should be exerted in recruiting the Continental battalions; and whereas his Excellency General Washington hath enclosed to this State a proposal, made to him by Brigadier-General Varnum, to enlist into the two battalions, raising by this State, such slaves as should be willing to enter into the service; and whereas history affords us frequent precedents of the wisest, the freest and bravest nations having liberated their slaves and enlisted them as soldiers to fight in defence of their country; and, also, whereas the enemy, with a great force, have taken possession of the capital and a great part of this State, and this State is obliged to raise a very considerable number of troops for its own immediate defence, whereby it is in a manner rendered impossible for this State to furnish recruits for the said two battalions without adopting the said measure so recommended;

It is Voted and Resolved, That every able-bodied negro, mulatto, or Indian man-slave in this State may enlist into either of the said two battalions, to serve during the continuance of the present war with Great Britain; that every slave so enlisting shall be entitled to and receive all the bounties, wages, and encouragements allowed by the Continental Congress to any soldier enlisting in their service.

It is further Voted and Resolved, That every slave so enlisting shall, upon his passing muster before Colonel Christopher Green, be immediately discharged from the service of his master or mistress, and be absolutely Free, as though he had never been encumbered with any kind of servitude or slavery.

The negroes enlisted under this act were the men who immortalized themselves at Red Bank.

Arnold, in his ‘History of Rhode Island,’ vol. II., pp. 427, 428, describing the ‘battle of Rhode Island,’ fought August 29, 1778, says, ‘A third time the enemy, with desperate courage and increased strength, attempted to assail the redoubt, and would have carried it, but for the timely aid of two Continental battalions despatched by Sullivan to support his almost exhausted troops. It was in repelling these furious onsets that the newly-raised black regiment, under Colonel Green, distinguished itself by deeds of desperate valor. Posted behind a thicket in the valley, they three times drove back the Hessians, who charged repeatedly down the hill to dislodge them.’ [421]

Negroes have always been favorites1 in our navy, and their names always entered on the ships' books without distinction. Commodore Chauncey thus speaks:—

‘I regret that you are not pleased with the men sent you by Messrs. Champlin and Forrest, for, to my knowledge, a part of them are not surpassed by any seamen we have in the fleet; and 1 have yet to learn that the color of the skin, or the cut and trimmings of the coat, can affect a man's qualifications or usefulness. I have nearly fifty blacks on board of this ship, and many of them are among my best men.’

In October, 1814, the State of New York passed an act to authorize the raising of two regiments of men of color.

1 “ In referring to Mr. Wickliffe's remarks against Generals Butler and Hunter, he (Mr. Dunn) pointed to the fact that General Jackson employed colored soldiers in the defence of New Orleans and complimented them upon their gallantry and good order. Kentuckians were in that battle with black men. Commodore Perry fought his battles on Lake Erie with the help of black men; and black men, too, fought in the Revolutionary War. Commodores Stringham and Woodhull severally testify to the valuable services of the blacks in the navy, saying they are as brave as any who ever stood at the guns. They fought before Vicksburg, and elsewhere.

The rebels employ them wherever they can. When they cannot get them willingly, they force them, as they (lid at Yorktown, to take the front rank of danger. Why not now not only educate them to the use of arms, but prepare them to hold the Southern country wrested from rebels? He did not want the white man to go down and perish there. The negro population, armed, can hold the traitors in subjection. The gentleman from Kentucky was apprehensive if arms were placed in the hands of blacks that they would commit great barbarities. ‘What,’ he asked,—replying to that remark,— ‘had become of the Christian teachings which were said to prevail in the South?’ He said that General Meigs had informed him additional numbers of blacks were required to man the ships, this class of persons having proved highly valuable in the naval service.

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