They Were Good Soldiers’
Full Title: ‘They Were Good Soldiers’ : African-Americans Serving in the Continental Army, 1775-1783
By John U Rees
Softcover, 210 pages, 7″ × 10″
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.
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