African Americans' Roles in the American Revolutionary War

African Americans, both free and enslaved, served in the American and British armies as armed troops and as laborers known as "pioneers."

In many places, slaves were offered freedom if they agreed to fight for the British.  Large numbers of slaves deserted their plantations, particularly in the lowcountry.  But as far as the backcountry, in the case of the Bratton's slave Watt, some felt like their loyalty was to the family that owned them.


  • Black Loyalist
  • Black Pioneer (Painting by Bob Graham, Charleston, SC)