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Showing 71–80 of 1576 results

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: Timothy Pickering’s Marquee Tent

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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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Finding Freedom: Jack - Patrick Lockhart’s Letter to Thomas Nelson

Patrick Lockhart of Botetourt County, Virginia, wrote this letter to Virginia Governor Thomas Nelson in November 1781 to ask for state assistance to recapture Jack, who had escaped from prison earlier that year. Lockhart described that Jack was heavily armed and “Threatening Revenge” upon the people who had first imprisoned him. In April of 1781, Jack was arrested, brought to court, and found guilty of trying to start an uprising among people of African descent who would join the British to battle the American Revolutionaries. One day before his planned execution, Jack escaped from jail and White residents of Botetourt County, such as Patrick Lockhart, feared for their lives. Considering this fear, the accuracy of Lockhart’s claims in this letter is unclear.

Courtesy of the Library of Virginia

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Finding Freedom: Jack - Record from Trial of “Jack a Negro Man Slave”

On April 13, 1781, Jack faced charges of theft, rebellion, and attempted murder at the Botetourt County courthouse in Fincastle, Virginia. Like all enslaved people in Virginia, Jack was denied a jury trial. Instead, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by a group of justices. This written record of his case is the earliest known documentation of Jack’s activity during the Revolutionary War.

Court Order Book, Vol. 5a (pp.100-101), Botetourt County Courthouse, Virginia

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Finding Freedom: Eve - Newspaper Advertisement for Eve

On February 2, 1782, Peyton Randolph’s nephew, Harrison, advertised in “The Virginia Gazette” that Eve ran away from slavery after the Siege of Yorktown. It is unknown if she was successful. Runaway advertisements are valuable documents for historians studying enslaved people because they help confirm a variety of biographical details such as age, location, and physical appearance. 

Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary

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