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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion > American Age of Formative Expansion

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American Age of Formative Expansion 1789-1830 To begin with the 1st US President & extend through the Whiskey Rebellion, Quasi War with France, War of 1812, & southeastern Indian wars,

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  #1  
Old 01 Mar 17, 13:03
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The Afro-Americans who fought the USA

Recently came across this piece of overlooked history.

It used to be the custom during the Napoleonic period that any Afro American slave from French (or US) territory that escaped to British territory was treated as a free man by that territory. British ships were often deemed as British territory and whilst the British government did not actively encourage slaves to take this route they did not discourage it either. Senior British naval officer Rear Admiral Alexander Cochrane had used escaped slaves from Guadeloupe to form a battalion of "Colonial Marines" in 1809. In 1814, now a Vice Admiral he decided to raise a second battalion from the US East Coast and this time escape was actively encouraged.

The following proclamation was issued

That all those who may be disposed to emigrate from the UNITED STATES will, with their Families, be received on board His Majesty’s Ships or Vessels of War, or at the Military Posts that may be established, upon or near the Coast of the UNITED STATES, when they will have their choice of either entering into His Majesty’s Sea or Land Forces, or of being sent as FREE settlers to the British Possessions in North America or the West Indies, where they will meet with due encouragement.


The result was a flow of stolen small boats putting out to meet the ships of the British Chesapeake squadron and the largest single emancipation of slaves before the dismantlement of slavery at the end of the ACW and there were enough volunteers to allow the formation of the new battalion.

The Corps of Colonial Marines fought alongside their British counterparts and took part in a number of small amphibious raids and other larger actions including the taking of Washington. They wore a similar uniform although ironically not of red cloth but a very Confederate coloured grey.

One of the sticking points in the peace negotiations was a US demand for the return of the slaves or a substantial financial compensation for "property" loss to the slave owners, Neither was forthcoming.

All the escapees including those who had volunteered for the Marines were settled in Trinidad as free small holders and formed a community that can still be identified today.
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  #2  
Old 01 Mar 17, 13:43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Recently came across this piece of overlooked history.

It used to be the custom during the Napoleonic period that any Afro American slave from French (or US) territory that escaped to British territory was treated as a free man by that territory. British ships were often deemed as British territory and whilst the British government did not actively encourage slaves to take this route they did not discourage it either. Senior British naval officer Rear Admiral Alexander Cochrane had used escaped slaves from Guadeloupe to form a battalion of "Colonial Marines" in 1809. In 1814, now a Vice Admiral he decided to raise a second battalion from the US East Coast and this time escape was actively encouraged.

The following proclamation was issued

That all those who may be disposed to emigrate from the UNITED STATES will, with their Families, be received on board His Majesty’s Ships or Vessels of War, or at the Military Posts that may be established, upon or near the Coast of the UNITED STATES, when they will have their choice of either entering into His Majesty’s Sea or Land Forces, or of being sent as FREE settlers to the British Possessions in North America or the West Indies, where they will meet with due encouragement.


The result was a flow of stolen small boats putting out to meet the ships of the British Chesapeake squadron and the largest single emancipation of slaves before the dismantlement of slavery at the end of the ACW and there were enough volunteers to allow the formation of the new battalion.

The Corps of Colonial Marines fought alongside their British counterparts and took part in a number of small amphibious raids and other larger actions including the taking of Washington. They wore a similar uniform although ironically not of red cloth but a very Confederate coloured grey.

One of the sticking points in the peace negotiations was a US demand for the return of the slaves or a substantial financial compensation for "property" loss to the slave owners, Neither was forthcoming.

All the escapees including those who had volunteered for the Marines were settled in Trinidad as free small holders and formed a community that can still be identified today.
There were some African American Slave's that escaped to Canada and worked in the Fur Trade as well... https://theredcedar.wordpress.com/20...the-fur-trade/
Some joined up with Native American Tribes even becoming a chief if they could wrestle for control of a band rising to the top in the wilderness was the only place they could become the top dog.
I can remember of reading about a black voyageur by the name of George La Bonga 6'5" tall an employee of the North West Company of Adventurer's he was operating here in the Grand Portage, Minnesota Area.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/voyageurs
http://wikivisually.com/wiki/Voyageurs

The life of a Voyageur was rough but it still beat slavery...

Last edited by SmackUm; 01 Mar 17 at 14:46.. Reason: fix link
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Old 01 Mar 17, 19:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmackUm View Post
There were some African American Slave's that escaped to Canada and worked in the Fur Trade as well... https://theredcedar.wordpress.com/20...the-fur-trade/
Some joined up with Native American Tribes even becoming a chief if they could wrestle for control of a band rising to the top in the wilderness was the only place they could become the top dog.
I can remember of reading about a black voyageur by the name of George La Bonga 6'5" tall an employee of the North West Company of Adventurer's he was operating here in the Grand Portage, Minnesota Area.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/voyageurs
http://wikivisually.com/wiki/Voyageurs

The life of a Voyageur was rough but it still beat slavery...
I'm sure escaped slaves got to many places but the voyageurs are a little out of the period of the forum in which this thread is set.
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  #4  
Old 01 Mar 17, 21:46
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Not overlooked, ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Recently came across this piece of overlooked history.

It used to be the custom during the Napoleonic period that any Afro American slave from French (or US) territory that escaped to British territory was treated as a free man by that territory. British ships were often deemed as British territory and whilst the British government did not actively encourage slaves to take this route they did not discourage it either. Senior British naval officer Rear Admiral Alexander Cochrane had used escaped slaves from Guadeloupe to form a battalion of "Colonial Marines" in 1809. In 1814, now a Vice Admiral he decided to raise a second battalion from the US East Coast and this time escape was actively encouraged.

The following proclamation was issued

That all those who may be disposed to emigrate from the UNITED STATES will, with their Families, be received on board His Majesty’s Ships or Vessels of War, or at the Military Posts that may be established, upon or near the Coast of the UNITED STATES, when they will have their choice of either entering into His Majesty’s Sea or Land Forces, or of being sent as FREE settlers to the British Possessions in North America or the West Indies, where they will meet with due encouragement.


The result was a flow of stolen small boats putting out to meet the ships of the British Chesapeake squadron and the largest single emancipation of slaves before the dismantlement of slavery at the end of the ACW and there were enough volunteers to allow the formation of the new battalion.

The Corps of Colonial Marines fought alongside their British counterparts and took part in a number of small amphibious raids and other larger actions including the taking of Washington. They wore a similar uniform although ironically not of red cloth but a very Confederate coloured grey.

One of the sticking points in the peace negotiations was a US demand for the return of the slaves or a substantial financial compensation for "property" loss to the slave owners, Neither was forthcoming.

All the escapees including those who had volunteered for the Marines were settled in Trinidad as free small holders and formed a community that can still be identified today.
... US Historian Alan Taylor, U. of Virginia won a Pulitzer Prize for his work "The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832" in 2014, his second Pulitzer Prize. It's a good read. Cochrane's utilization of African-American slaves was a follow-on to an effort made during the American Revolution, he gave it higher status and made it more official. I'm quite sure the Colonial Marines who served off the US coasts during the War of 1812 wore standard red Marine uniforms (Taylor refers to their "red jackets"), not sure about the badging and such. I believe the off white/grey uniform dated from 1809 and the French colonies.

The French had their own "Troupes de la marine" but they were more Colonial Regulars than British Royal Marine equivalents. The responsibility for the colonies fell to the Secrétaire d'État de la Marine, hence the nomenclature; they were arranged in Companies i.e. Compagnies Franches de la Marine. In New France, the troops were French, billeted with the local population vs. barracks. Over time most of the officer cadre came from the Canadien nobility, a highly sought after perk, resulting in a Canadien officer caste of sorts, some went on to Imperial commands in the Caribbean, even France itself.
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Last edited by Marmat; 01 Mar 17 at 21:55..
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Old 02 Mar 17, 03:34
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Certainly Africans were fighting aboard British ships at Trafalgar.

From the plaque at base of Nelson's column:

Top left:
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Old 02 Mar 17, 07:10
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On the other side of the coin, Afro-Am sailed on American New England ships and joined Massachusetts regiments in the Continental army. There were several at Bunker Hill.
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Old 02 Mar 17, 09:02
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IIRC there is an exchange of letters on this topic in the Documentary History of the Naval War of 1812. There may be more in the I]Documentary History of the War of 1812[/I] and in the American State Papers.
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Old 02 Mar 17, 09:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
Certainly Africans were fighting aboard British ships at Trafalgar.

From the plaque at base of Nelson's column:

Top left:
Two black men made it to RN post captain in the period, however neither had been in America although one was from the West Indies
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Old 04 Mar 17, 15:42
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The subject of African-Americans fighting against and for the United States has been addressed by historians. I see that Marmat has mentioned Alan Taylor's excellent book The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832. Another good book on this is Gene Smith's The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812 that was published in 2013. Also, in 1996 Gerard T. Altoff published another very good book titled Amongst My Best Men: African Americans and the War of 1812. In addition many of the better general histories of the war include some material on slaves escaping to the British with some of them fighting on their side.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Recently came across this piece of overlooked history.

It used to be the custom during the Napoleonic period that any Afro American slave from French (or US) territory that escaped to British territory was treated as a free man by that territory. British ships were often deemed as British territory and whilst the British government did not actively encourage slaves to take this route they did not discourage it either. Senior British naval officer Rear Admiral Alexander Cochrane had used escaped slaves from Guadeloupe to form a battalion of "Colonial Marines" in 1809. In 1814, now a Vice Admiral he decided to raise a second battalion from the US East Coast and this time escape was actively encouraged.

The following proclamation was issued

That all those who may be disposed to emigrate from the UNITED STATES will, with their Families, be received on board His Majesty’s Ships or Vessels of War, or at the Military Posts that may be established, upon or near the Coast of the UNITED STATES, when they will have their choice of either entering into His Majesty’s Sea or Land Forces, or of being sent as FREE settlers to the British Possessions in North America or the West Indies, where they will meet with due encouragement.
Lord Bathurst, the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, issued a warning to British officials in North America that: "You will on no account give encouragement to any disposition which may be manifested by the Negroes to rise against their masters." They were probably concerned that any general uprising by slaves in the United States could influence the more than 600,000 slaves in the British colonies in the Caribbean.
Quote:
The result was a flow of stolen small boats putting out to meet the ships of the British Chesapeake squadron and the largest single emancipation of slaves before the dismantlement of slavery at the end of the ACW and there were enough volunteers to allow the formation of the new battalion.
The number of slaves who escaped is put at around 4000 by historian Donald Hickey. As Hickey states: "This was the largest emancipation of slaves between 1807, when the Mutiny Act freed some 10,000 slaves in British military service, and 1833, when the Abolition Act mandated the liberation of all slaves in the British colonies, including some 665,000 in the West Indies." (pg 189, Don't Give Up the Ship! Myths of the War of 1812)

If only referencing the emancipation of slaves in the United States it is important to know that the northern states had already emancipated their slaves, or at least some of them. It gets a little complicated because most of the northern states only gradually emancipated their slaves. Even with that complicating aspect the northern states had emancipated far more than 4000 slaves.

Quote:
The Corps of Colonial Marines fought alongside their British counterparts and took part in a number of small amphibious raids and other larger actions including the taking of Washington. They wore a similar uniform although ironically not of red cloth but a very Confederate coloured grey.

One of the sticking points in the peace negotiations was a US demand for the return of the slaves or a substantial financial compensation for "property" loss to the slave owners, Neither was forthcoming.
The issue became a point of dispute between the two countries after the war over the interpretation of the wording in the first article of the treaty. The wording in dispute was:

All territory, places, and possessions whatsoever taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this Treaty, excepting only the Islands hereinafter mentioned, shall be restored without delay and without causing any destruction or carrying away any of the Artillery or other public property originally captured in the said forts or places, and which shall remain therein upon the Exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty, or any Slaves or other private property

As a result of the post war dispute over interpretation of the treaty only 81 slaves were actually returned by the British. Also, the dispute continued for years and finally it was agreed to go to binding arbitration with the Russian czar Alexander 1, who ruled in favor of the United States in 1822. After more years of negotiation Britain paid the U.S. $1,204,960 in 1826.

Quote:
All the escapees including those who had volunteered for the Marines were settled in Trinidad as free small holders and formed a community that can still be identified today.
Most of the slaves who escaped were relocated to Nova Scotia with some to Bermuda and those who were in the Marines to Trinidad.
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Old 04 Mar 17, 16:07
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Locations of settlement in Trinidad can be located - where was the settlement in Nova Scotia?
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Old 04 Mar 17, 16:42
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Locations of settlement in Trinidad can be located - where was the settlement in Nova Scotia?
Perhaps one of the Canadians on this board can provide that detail. I can tell you that in John K. Mahon's book The War of 1812 he states that according to a December 31, 1814 letter from Cochrane to Bathurst, Cochrane states that as of the end of 1814 runaway slaves had only been sent to Halifax and Bermuda. Cochrane was defending himself from accusations in the United States that some slaves who escaped to the British had been sold back into slavery in the Caribbean.

Mahon also quotes the commander at Bermuda, Commodore Andrew Evans, who had some very derogatory comments about the ex-slaves who had been sent there. Some clearly did not want them in Bermuda.
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Old 04 Mar 17, 16:52
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Yes, ...

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Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
Locations of settlement in Trinidad can be located - where was the settlement in Nova Scotia?
... one of the major areas of settlement was Nova Scotia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Canadians

"African Americans during the American Revolution
Main article: Black Loyalists


At the time of the American Revolution, inhabitants of the United States had to decide where their future lay. Those loyal to the British Crown were called United Empire Loyalists and came north. Many White American Loyalists brought their African-American slaves with them, numbering approximately 2,500 individuals. During the war, the British had promised freedom to slaves who left rebel masters and worked for them; this was announced in Virginia through Lord Dunmore's Proclamation. Slaves also escaped to British lines in New York City and Charleston, and their forces evacuated thousands after the war. They transported 3,000 to Nova Scotia."


War of 1812

The next major migration of blacks occurred between 1813 and 1815. Refugees from the War of 1812, primarily from the Chesapeake Bay and Georgia Sea Islands, fled the United States to settle in Hammonds Plains, Beechville, Lucasville, North Preston, East Preston, and Africville. An April 1814 proclamation of Black freedom and settlement by British Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane led to an exodus of around 3,500 Black Americans by 1818. The settlement of the refugees was initially seen as a means of creating prosperous agricultural communities; however, poor economic conditions following the war coupled with the granting of infertile farmland to refugees caused economic hardship. Social integration would prove difficult in the early years, as the prevalence of enslaved Africans in the Maritimes caused the newly freed Black Canadians to be viewed on the same level of the enslaved. Militarily, a Black Loyalist named Richard Pierpoint, who was born about 1744 in Senegal and who had settled near present-day St. Catharines, Ontario, offered to organize a Corps of Men of Colour to support the British war effort. This was refused but a white officer raised a small black corps. This "Coloured Corps" fought at Queenston Heights and the siege of Fort George, defending what would become Canada from the invading American army. Many of the refugees from America would later serve with distinction during the war in matters both strictly military, along with the use of freed slaves in assisting in the further liberation of African Americans slaves."


The CBC recently ( ie. 1-2 years, aired a series based on the "Book of Negroes"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Negroes

Ontario as well:
The Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada was just down the road from me, it's been rebuilt and reopened recently.






rebuilt:






http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-....aspx?id=12100

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE
Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada is a simple log church with an unmarked cemetery that stands on the south-east corner of the intersection of Line 3 of Oro-Medonte and Side Road 10/11, commonly known as the Old Barrie Road, Simcoe County, Ontario. It has been preserved as witness to an early African Canadian settlement associated with Black militiamen from the War of 1812. The official recognition refers to the church and the property that contains an associated burial ground.

HERITAGE VALUE
Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 2000 because:
- it is the last built remnant of a community of African Canadians whose roots are uniquely anchored in the history of United Empire Loyalists,
- it represents the important role that Black militiamen played in the defence of Upper Canada during the War of 1812, and early Upper Canada land policy.
Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church was built by African Canadians. The Oro Black settlement was a unique approach to integrating African Canadians into a farming community. The idea for an African Canadian community originated in 1783 with Sir Guy Carleton, Commander-in-Chief of British forces in North America. During the American Revolution, Carleton had promised that the slaves of non-Loyalists who joined the British Army would have their freedom and protection from re-enslavement. Black soldiers not only fought with the British during the American Revolution, but also as the “Coloured Corps”, a trusted unit of the Upper Canadian militia during the War of 1812. Between 1819 and 1826, the British granted 25 plots of land in Oro County to Black settlers, eleven of them former soldiers who received their grants in acknowledgement of military service. Although the area had strategic value, the land was both remote and agriculturally poor. Only nine of the original grant recipients took up their plots, settling along an area of the Penatanguishine Road known as Wilberforce Street. In 1829-1831, the settlement was augmented by thirty more families. They built Oro Church in 1847, and it remained active until around 1900 when the community itself faded away. The British Methodist Episcopal Church declared the building abandonned in 1916. Local residents rallied to preserve it in 1947, in 1956, and again after vandalism in 1981.
The heritage value of Oro African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada resides in its associated history as illustrated by the form and composition of the building, the integrity of the remnant cemetery, and in their site and setting.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 2000.


More stuff, old post:

The main centre in the area is Barrie Ont., named after Sir Robert Barrie, RN who commanded HMS Dragon, a 74 on blockade duty off the US coast and other assignments, remaining on the North American Station for most of the War of 1812. Post war, Barrie went on to command the naval forces assigned to the Canadas, i.e. the inland waters, he would retire a R/Adm. There’s more here:

http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.0...p?&id_nbr=3232

The city of Barrie, Ontario referred to above, little known to its residents, continues to have ties with both the RN, and the War of 1812.

The former is reflected from its location on “Kempenfelt Bay”, named by John Graves Simcoe (Upper Canada’s 1st Lt. Gov., who as a Col. had commanded the Queen’s Rangers in the US Revolution) in reference to R/Adm. Richard Kempenfelt, RN victor of the Battle of Ushant, to the naming of the major streets in the older parts of town; Blake, Duckworth, St. Vincent, Rodney, Codrington, Collier, Cook, Vancouver, Collingwood, Nelson (pretty much every town dating to the period has a Wellington St.) …, Worsley, Shannon!

As for the latter, the area later known as Barrie served as the southern terminus for the Nine Mile Portage from Kempenfelt Bay to Fort Willow, part of a largely water-borne supply route from York (Toronto) through Huronia to Lake Huron used to circumvent US control of Lake Erie.
More here:

http://www.barrie.ca/Living/ParksTra...lePortage.aspx

http://www.nvca.on.ca/recreation/Con...eas/FortWillow


After the War of 1812, the area became a northern terminus for the Underground Railroad after members of Captain Runchey's Company of Coloured Men were settled in “Oro”, east of Fort Willow, to provide a Corps. of Veterans to be called up in the event of further US aggression. The name “Oro Township” referred to the Spanish name of the Gold Coast of Ghana in Africa, Upper Canada’s Act Against Slavery of 1793 under Simcoe, was the 1st anti-slavery legislation in the British Empire.
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Last edited by Marmat; 04 Mar 17 at 17:24.. Reason: more stuff!
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The Royal African Colonial Marines wore the same uniform as the Royal Marines.

And here is an overview of blacks on both sides.

http://www.pbs.org/wned/war-of-1812/...d-sailors-war/

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