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They Were Good Soldiers

African-Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783

Series : From Reason to Revolution 1721-1815 #34

Author : John U Rees

They Were Good Soldiers : African-Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783


General - Pages : 104 | Images : 8pp colour plates, 14 b/w ills, 5 tables, 1 map

Paperback - Date of Publication : June 2019 | Size : 248mm x 180mm | ISBN : 9781911628545 | Helion Book Code : HEL1048

The role of African-Americans, most free but some enslaved, in the regiments of the Continental Army is not well-known, neither is the fact that relatively large numbers served in southern regiments and that the greatest number served alongside their white comrades in integrated units. The book begins by discussing for comparison inclusion and treatment of black Americans by the various Crown forces (particularly British and Loyalist commanders and military units). The next section discusses broadly black soldiers in the Continental Army, before delving into each state. Each state’s section first looks at the Continental regiments in that state’s contingent throughout the war, and then adds interesting black soldiers pension narratives or portions thereof. The premise is to leave the reader with some insights into the common soldiers’ wartime experiences. The book ends with a look into what African-American veterans experienced post-war in their communities and home states. There have been no other book-length works that deal with the wartime experiences of black Continental soldiers in detail; additionally, the use of pension narratives of black soldiers to gain personal data and ‘hear’ them tell their own stories is relatively new, and compelling.


“This is a fascinating book and a great addition to the knowledge of this war. One aspect I particularly liked was that the footnotes - which were of some considerable explanatory value - were at the bottom of each page rather than at the back of the book. It is thoroughly recommended for the general reader and expert alike.” Miniature Wargames 


"Rees breathes new life into the history of these often forgotten enslaved - and at times, freed - enlistees, and his audience will be suprised to find through his careful study that African Americans were part of almost every colony that rose up againt Great Britain during the war... Rees pulls his research from a vast arrangement of primary and secondary sources... Opportune for both the faithful Revolutionary War buff and the historian search for rich primary sources on African American soldiers." The Colonial Review


"Filled with human stories, readers will find this text useful in understanding the overall contributions of African American soldiers to the Continental Army and will gain insight into the experiences they faced along the way. Any reader with an interest in learning more about the common soldier serving in the Continental Army would benefit from reading this text." Journal of the American Revolution


"[An] engaging and deeply researched book." Museum of the American Revolution

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