This Months Feature...
Black Soldiers in the American Revolution
P.O. Box 10240 ~ Bedford, NH ~ 03110
AN EXTRAORDINARY OFFERING OF PAY CERTIFICATES FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN
SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
During	 the	 Revolutionary	 War,	 at	 least	 five	 thousand	 black	 soldiers	 fought	 in	 support	 of	 the
revolutionary	cause.	This	included	the	creation	of	all-black	units	in	both	Rhode	Island	and	Massachusetts
and	the	participation	of	slaves,	many	of	whom	were	promised	their	freedom	in	return	for	their	service	in	the
Continental	Army.	The	formal	inclusion	of	African	Americans	in	the	Continental	Army	began	in	January
of	1776,	when	George	Washington	lifted	the	ban	on	black	enlistment	in	the	faced	of	manpower	shortages.
Even	before	serving	in	the	Continental	Army,	some	African	Americans	were	enlisted	as	Minutemen	in	the
Colonial	Militia,	especially	in	the	northern	colonies.	Records	indicate	that	the	early	Battles	of	Lexington	and
Concord	and	the	Battle	of	Bunker	Hill	all	saw	African	Americans	fighting	alongside	white	patriots.	In	all,	it
is	estimated	that	about	one-fifth	of	the	northern	army	was	African	American.
Sadly,	the	close	of	the	war	did	not	bring	the	changes	that	these	African	American	patriots	had	hoped
for.	While	some	slaves	were	granted	freedom	by	their	masters,	many	other	slave	owners	reneged	on	their
promises.	Moreover,	a	variety	of	state	legislatures	began	to	formally	ban	blacks	from	service	following	the
war,	and		even	the	United	States	Congress	formally	excluded	African	Americans	from	military	service	at	the
national	level	in	1792.
All	of	the	following	document	are	Connecticut	Line	notes	for	serving	in	the	Continental	Line	during
the	Revolution,	 all	 from	Connecticut		black	 soldiers	who	 served	during	 the	Revolutionary	War.	Twenty
six	of	them	are	issued	to	and	signed	with	their	given	name	or	their	“X”	mark.		Included	are	six	that	are
not	signed,	but	issued	to	known	black	soldiers.	T