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African American History Tour In Williamsburg

Virginia African American History: The Short, Sad History Of Lord Dunmore’s Royal Ethiopian Regiment

November 1st, 2019 Posted by African American History, Black History, tours No Comment yet

African American Soldiers And The Revolutionary War In Virginia

In November 1775, Lord Dunmore, the last royal Governor of Virginia signed a proclamation stating that any able bodied slave of a rebel master could run to his Royal Ethiopian regiment to fight the Americans and gain their freedom. Dunmore did not free the enslaved workers belonging to Loyalist Masters and he did not free his own slaves.

300 Enslaved African Americans Join Dunmore’s Army

Within a week of Dunmore signing the proclamation, over 300 enslaved workers ran to Norfolk, Virginia to join his army. The Patriots were terrified knowing their runaway slaves would now have guns. The Virginia Gazette advised slaves to “cling to your kind masters.” But in the end, around 800 runaway slaves fought in Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment. Their uniforms were emblazoned with the words, “Liberty to Slaves.”

african amercian history and the revolutionary warThe Attack On Great Bridge In Chesapeake Virginia

On November 15, Lord Dunmore called in his British troops to Kemp’s Landing to defend a large store of gunpowder that had been recently moved there from Norfolk. Militia companies from Princess Anne County, Virginia (present-day Virginia Beach) assembled to fight the British. Virginia’s inexperienced Militia fired too soon. Lord Dunmore’s disciplined regulars returned fire and most of the Patriot Militia scattered. This clear victory for the British made Lord Dunmore overconfident. He decided to attack the Patriots at Great Bridge (in present-day Chesapeake, Virginia.)

Early in the morning on December 10, 1775, The Royal Ethiopian regiment marched across the bridge with the other British troops. The British troops were within fifty feet of the Patriots who were hiding. The Patriots revealed themselves and fired rapidly, decimating the ranks, and the attack quickly turned into a panicked retreat. The battle lasted less than an hour. By the time it was over 100 British soldiers were dead or wounded. Lord Dunmore retreated to Norfolk and boarded his ships.

Lord Dunmore and his troops stayed on these ships in and around Norfolk until May, when he eventually retreated to Gwynn’s Island near the mouth of the Rappahannock River in the Chesapeake Bay. Being on these ships in the cold and damp weather caused a great deal of sickness, including smallpox. Smallpox was widespread in Great Britain — nearly all the British troops in America had caught it as children and those that hadn’t were inoculated before they left England. The enslaved that ran to the Royal Ethiopian Regiment had no immunity to the disease. This meant that smallpox was quickly an epidemic among the runaways. The situation on Gwynn’s Island became worse when typhoid fever also broke out. Slaves continued to run to Lord Dunmore’s Regiment, but because the high mortality rate among the Runaway slaves was so high the Royal Ethiopian Regiment never had more that 150 effective men.

The Fate Of African American Soldiers In The Royal Ethiopian african american soldiers in the revolutionary warRegiment

By July the remains of Dunmore’s forces sailed north to New York. The Patriot forces then took over the island and the scene that greeted them was a grisly one. Bodies of the Royal Ethiopian soldiers littered the coastline, smallpox victims thrown from the British ships as they sailed away. On the island itself the scene was even worse. One eyewitness wrote, “The deplorable condition of the miserable wretches left behind is beyond description.” The island now belonged to the dead and dying. The sick soldiers were lying out in the open or in brush tents, many of those in the tents were burned alive as soldiers sought to control the smallpox. Lord Dunmore’s Royal Ethiopian Regiment was gone, only in existence for one year. However, not all of the Royal Ethiopian Regiment died on Gwynn’s Island — one of the survivors was Titus Cornelius or, as he was later known, Colonel Tye. His story will be told in the next blog.

Williamsburg History Tour

Williamsburg Walking Tours Hosts Blind Students From The Virginia Department Of The Blind And Visually Impaired

July 30th, 2019 Posted by African American History, African American History, Battle of Williamsburg, battle of williamsburg tour, black history, tours, trip advisor reviews, williamsburg, Williamsburg, williamsburg va civil war tour No Comment yet

Williamsburg Walking Tours Hosts Blind Students from DBVI

For the third year, Williamsburg Walking Tours hosted 30 students from the Virginia Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired for a special 1 ½-hr. tour. On Saturday, July 20, 2019, Co-Owner and Master Storyteller Trish

williamsburg tour guide

Trish Thomas

Thomas entertained the group with little-known facts about Williamsburg drawn from the company’s repertoire of stories from its tours which include:

Thank You To The James City Lions!

On an extremely hot day, the James City Lions graciously provided water and guide assistance for this remarkable tour. Private tours and customized on-site presentations are available for family, civic and other groups visiting Williamsburg.

Schedule A Tour

Call 757-634-2452, visit TripAdvisor to see reviews, or go to our Williamsburg tours page for more information.

 

 

 

African American Historical Photo

Remembering African American History In June: The 54th Massachusetts Infantry

June 5th, 2018 Posted by 54th Massachussettes, African American History, African American History, Black History, black history, jackie robinson, williamsburg No Comment yet

Williamsburg is a crossroad point of America. It is a physical location that encompasses a historic journey of freedom that memorialized a young Colonial nation breaking away from their dominating origin country. This theme is played out throughout the entire United States, encompassing battlefields, museums, books, personal accounts, and the struggle of many people, especially the African American population.

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Understanding American history or African American history will take you on many twists and turns down roads that were forgotten, overlooked, or even just more significant than you may have realized. June is the historical month that the 54th Massachusetts African American Infantry was commissioned and created to fight in the Civil War.

The story was brought into the public forefront more than a century after the war with the movie Glory. It is a great story of the struggle of individuals on a bigger stage against the backdrop of a divided racist nation, battling over the moral and political direction of thousands.

One thing black history in Williamsburg, or the United States can attest to is:

Freedom is not free

There is always a fight. The 54th Massachusetts African American Infantry embodied this both historically and symbolically. As the regiment was populated by many freed slaves as well as led by those whose views were heavily abolitionist, the fight for freedom was an active struggle both

African American Historical Photo

On the battlefields of the Civil War and in the society that would have to accept the African American population as legal citizens and contributors to the society

Taking up the call to fight in a war for your country is one of the purest and most visceral responsibilities of citizenship. The 54th answered the call as harbingers of a people who would become new citizens of a hostile nation. The battlefield for African American citizenship would end victoriously in 1865. The battle for total acceptance into American society had just started…

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African American History Tour Of Williamsburg

Come learn about this struggle in Colonial Williamsburg and America on our African American History Tour.


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