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“I entered the army for the purpose of obtaining my freedom…”
Richard Rhodes, Rebel soldier, 1 st Rhode Island Regiment, present at Monmouth

Neither Negroes, Boys unable to bare Arms, nor old men unfit to endure the fatigues of the campaign, are to be inlisted;


General Washington’s General Orders, November 12, 1775. General George Washington forbade the enlistment of all Blacks. Library of Congress



As the General is informed, that Numbers of Free Negroes are desirous of inlisting, he gives leave to the recruiting Officers to entertain them, and promises to lay the matter before the Congress, who he doubts not will approve of it.

General Washington’s General Orders, December 30, 1775. In contrast to his stance one month prior, General Washington permits enlistment of free blacks. This was likely influenced by Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation. Library of Congress

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2018
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: April 20, 2009

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