Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment - Early American Ethiopianism

Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment - Early American Ethiopianism

”In November 1775 Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, issued a
proclamation promising freedom for any enslaved black in Virginia who
joined the British army. Within a month, nearly three hundred slaves
had joined what would be known as “Lord Dunmore’s Ethiopian Regiment.”
Later, thousands of slaves fled plantations for British promises of
emancipation. At the end of the war, the British kept their word, to
some at least, and evacuated as many as fourteen thousand “Black
Loyalists” to Nova Scotia, Jamaica, and England.

   “The existence of a black regiment in British service held a powerful
attraction for Americans of African descent who saw it as a symbol of
hope. Its very existence — blacks as soldiers in the world’s best
Army trained to kill white people — was as revolutionary as the war
itself. There was the story of the black New Yorker who named her
child “Dunmore” in His Lordship’s honor; or the black
Philadelphian who manhandled white pedestrians who felt he should
jump out of their way as they passed saying to them proudly, just
wait until Lord Dunmore and his black regiment come…”

   “The Battle of Great Bridge took place on December 9, 1775 just seven
months before the Declaration of Independence. The defeat of the British
 at this battle resulted in the capture of Norfolk three weeks later on
January 1, 1776. This was to be the end of British rule in the colonies.
Lord Dunmore and his regiment had defeated the Americans at Kemp’s
landing ten miles south of the Great Bridge. Theirs was an easy victory
in which the regiment captured two commanding colonels. The Ethiopian
Regiment’s first and only major military conflict was the battle of the
Great Bridge. Dunmore had been informed by a patriot double spy that the
Americans were inadequately armed and few in number. Overconfident,
Dunmore ordered the 300 member Ethiopian Regiment and 300 British troops
to attack on Great Bridge. On the morning of December 10, Dunmore’s men
 marched over the bridge toward battle. Expecting little opposition, the
soldiers were quickly overcome by the heavily armed Americans. The losses
were devastating. Over 100 of Dunmore’s men were killed or wounded; only
one American was wounded.4 Dunmore and his men abandoned Norfolk and
retreated to the British fleet. Crowded into the ship with hungry and
wounded soldiers, many succumbed to smallpox. After the ship became
harassed by American and French privateers, Dunmore evacuated the ship to
New York. In the end, only 300 of the original 800 regiment members survived.

For a list of individuals that participated in this event, read this

- Twenty Five Historics Moments in the
Evolution of a Proper Noun called Ethiopianism

Ethiopianism Online Revival

 Ethiopia the African Tibet Show