National Park in Gloucester County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
African American Soldiers
Red Bank Battleﬁeld
In 1819, Prince Bent, “a man of collour,” signed a sworn affidavit that he served with Dick Potter (another “man of collour”) in Colonel Christopher Greene’s Rhode Island regiment and that the two had fought together at Red Bank. Bent, a former slave, had been born in Africa in 1760 and served with Potter, a freeman, throughout the Revolutionary War.
The Rhode Island Regiment is frequently referred to as the “Black Regiment” because in 1778, Rhode Island officially authorized the recruitment of African American soldiers, but we know from muster records that as early as 1777, African Americans already served with Colonel Greene. These muster rolls reveal a fascinating group of men including former slaves, Native Americans, and freemen who fought together to defend the Delaware River. This diverse lot, including Dick Potter and Prince Bent, helped to inflict one of the heaviest losses on the Hessians in the Revolution.
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Richard Potter did serve in the revolutionary war, against the common enemy.
“ . . . this indigent application . . . is now very
Erected 2015 by New Jersey Historical Commission.
Location. 39° 52.277′ N, 75° 11.359′ W. Marker is in National Park, New Jersey, in Gloucester County. Marker can be reached from Hessian Road, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is on the Red Bank Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: National Park NJ 08063, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Colonel Christopher Greene (a few steps from this marker); The Soldiers (a few steps from this marker); The Battle of Red Bank (a few steps from this marker); Flag of Fort Mercer (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Red Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Mercer (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Fort Mercer (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Mercer at Red Bank / Fort Mercer is Alerted (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in National Park.
More about this marker. The upper left of the marker contains a picture of Four Soldiers by Jean Baptiste Antoine de Verger, c. 1781. It includes a caption of “De Verger served in the Revolution and fought at the Battle of Yorktown. His watercolor depicts the diverse participants in the war. From left to right: a Black soldier of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, a New England militiaman, a frontier rifleman, and a French officer.” A pension application appears on the right side of the marker. It has a caption of “Application denied, State of Rhode Island. By 1822, Richard (Dick) Potter was left with nothing – no family, no friends, no employment. His pension application revealed that he had barely enough clothing to be decent. Sadly, Rhode Island denied his pension request because he did not have two sworn witnesses to support his testimony as required by law.”
Categories. African Americans • War, US Revolutionary •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 20, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 213 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.