Finding Freedom: Deborah - Marquis de Lafayette’s Letter to George Washington
General George Washington received this confidential letter from the Marquis de Lafayette a few weeks after a British ship sailed up the Potomac River and took supplies from Mount Vernon, Washington’s home in Virginia. Lafayette informed General Washington that several enslaved people had escaped from Mount Vernon to join the British in search of their freedom. He also noted that Lund Washington, the general’s cousin and farm manager, had boarded the enemy’s vessel and offered to provide the British with supplies to prevent Mount Vernon from being burned down. Lafayette warned General Washington that this might make his neighbors upset because they had attempted to resist the British and their homes were burned as a result. On April 30, 1781, General Washington wrote a letter to Lund Washington to criticize his cousin’s decision to give supplies to the British. General Washington felt his honor had been tarnished by giving in to the enemy.
George Washington Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Make Your Own Mini General Washington Tent Craft
Celebrate Presidents Day Weekend with the Whole Family, Feb. 12 - 15
Finding Freedom: Andrew - Application for Increase in Revolutionary War Pension Payment
In 1851, Andrew Ferguson returned to the courthouse in Monroe County, Indiana, to describe his service during the Revolutionary and request an increase in his pension payment from the United States Government. Because of his old age (he was about 86 years old at the time) and the pain from his two wartime injuries, Ferguson could not support himself and his family. It is unclear if the government granted his request.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com
George Washington’s Headquarters Tent Installed
First Oval Office Project
Museum of the American Revolution Launches Virtual Museum Tour
Finding Freedom: Eve - Peyton Randolph’s Will
Peyton Randolph, a politician and plantation owner from Williamsburg, Virginia, wrote his will on August 10, 1774, one year before he died. Randolph, a slave owner, requested that the people he enslaved were to be inherited by his wife Elizabeth and other family members, or, if necessary, be sold to pay off his debts. Elizabeth Randolph was to receive four enslaved women and their children, including Eve and George, upon her husband’s death.
This historical record is dedicated to the Museum of the American Revolution by the York County-Poquoson Circuit Court, Authorized by the Honorable Kristen N. Nelson, Clerk
Finding Freedom: Eve - Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation
On November 14, 1775, Virginia’s Royal Governor Lord Dunmore published this proclamation in Williamsburg that freed “all indented Servants, Negroes, or others, (appertaining to Rebels,) … that are able and willing to bear Arms” for the King. Eve and her son George were among the 800 or so enslaved people who fled to Lord Dunmore as the news spread.
Dunmore’s Proclamation, A 1775 .V55, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia
Finding Freedom: London - Robert Pleasants’s Letter to Benedict Arnold
On January 30, 1781, London’s former owner, Robert Pleasants, wrote this letter to British Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, the American turncoat. Pleasants described how he valued London and wanted him to be returned. Soldiers from Arnold’s army had encamped near Pleasants’s plantation, called “Curles Neck,” earlier that month and may have persuaded London and his uncle, Carter Jack, to join them. London never returned to the Pleasants’s plantation.
Robert Pleasants Letterbook, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary