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After the Death of Tye, The Black Brigade Soldiers On

Following the death of Colonel Tye, the Black Brigade came under the leadership of the African Bahamian soldier Stephen Blucke, whose Black Pioneers together with the Brigade made frequent raids into Long Island and New Jersey even after Cornwallis’s defeat made Patriot victory appear inevitable.  The Black Brigade would continue through the very end of the war, helping to usher escaping slaves to their freedom inside British lines.  

One of the key areas of dispute between the Americans and English peace negotiators was the fate of the black Loyalists.  George Washington, a fourth-generation slaveowner, argued that the fugitive slaves were American property and should be returned to their masters.  British leaders, however, regarded the 3,000-plus African Americans in New York City as faithful, valiant supporters of the Crown, who should not be deserted.  The negotiations resulted in the creation of a list of 3,000 men, women and children is the most valuable resource for determining which African Americans chose to fight for freedom by taking the King’s side.  The list includes the names of 24 Monmouth County blacks, including three couples, three families, seven single men, and one single woman.

The elite Black Brigade stayed with the English until the final evacuation of New York City on November 25, 1783.  They left the only land they’d ever known for a life as free men and women in Nova Scotia; some ventured on from there with other freed American Loyalist blacks who established the settlement in Sierra Leone in West Africa.  

Sources:

Allen, Thomas B.  (2010).  Tories: Fighting for the King in America’s First Civil War.  HarperCollins, New York, N.Y. P. 316-320.

Hodges, Russell Graham  (1997).  Slavery and Freedom in the Rural North: African Americans in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1665-1865.  A Madison House Book, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, Md., P. 91-107.

Adelberg, Michael S.  (2010).  The American Revolution in Monmouth County.  The History Press, Charleston, S.C., P. 75-97.

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