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Finding Freedom: London - “Inspection Roll of Negroes,” Book 1, Page 43

These pages are from a British Army document called the “Inspection Roll of Negroes,” written in 1783. London’s name is recorded on the left side of the first page near the top. The second page records that London was formerly enslaved by Robert Pleasants in Virginia. The “Inspection Roll of Negroes” records the roughly 3,000 formerly enslaved men and women whom the British evacuated from New York City at the end of the Revolutionary War. Most of these people, such as London, settled in Canada with assistance from the British. London is recorded as a trumpeter in the American Legion, a Loyalist military unit. London boarded the ship “Elizabeth” bound for Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada.

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC

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Finding Freedom: London - Troop Return of the American Legion

London arrived in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1783 with fellow members of the American Legion, a Loyalist military unit. This list of troops in the American Legion from 1785 records that London, then called London York, died at some point between 1783 and 1785. Like many other formerly enslaved men and women who resettled in Canada, London may have died due to sickness caused by the harsh living conditions and cold weather. Unfortunately, London died prior to receiving a plot of land in New Brunswick on which he could live as a free man.

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, RS108 Land Petitions: Original Series

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Picturing Washington's Army: Remnant of Fort Lafayette

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Picturing Washington's Army: Commander in Chief’s Guard

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Picturing Washington's Army: George Washington’s Tent

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Picturing Washington's Army: 1st and 2nd Massachusetts Brigades

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Picturing Washington's Army: Army Livestock

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Finding Freedom: London - “A Sketch of New London & Groton”

This battle map of the British Army’s attack on New London and Groton in Connecticut shows the positions of the American Legion on the left side of the map. London served with the American Legion as it assaulted New London. British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold led the attack on the town and the surrounding fortifications. After intense fighting, the British Army defeated the Revolutionary forces defending the towns.

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

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Finding Freedom: Jack - “A Map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia”

Jack arrived in Virginia from his previous enslavement in North Carolina, his owner brought him to Botetourt County. As shown on this 1755 map, Botetourt County (marked with a star) was located along the western frontier—a mountainous region isolated from the more populated east. Jack was likely his owner’s only enslaved person. His duties probably included a little of everything: farming, clearing land, preparing firewood, mending tools, taking care of animals, repairing the house, and other tasks. In contrast, the majority of enslaved people in eastern Virginia lived on farms or plantations with at least ten other enslaved people. This meant they typically had a more specialized work assignment, as well as a built-in community.

Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 

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Finding Freedom: Jack - “The Memorial of Sundry of the Inhabitants of Botetourt County”

After Jack escaped from prison in 1781, he remained in Botetourt County, Virginia. With this petition, addressed to Virginia’s Governor Thomas Nelson, a group of citizens claimed that Jack was disturbing the peace. They wrote that Jack was threatening the lives of local people, especially those who had been involved in his arrest. The group of Botetourt County residents asked that Jack be tracked down and executed by the state. It is unknown whether Jack was recaptured or if he remained at-large. 

Courtesy of the Library of Virginia 

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