Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Free to Fight
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
— War of 1812 —
The British offered the recruits pay, uniforms, training—and an opportunity to fight against their former owners. The fugitive slaves knew the area well and could lead raiding parties. Their skills and determination made them important assets to the British military.
Others, especially women, were paid to cook, clean, and wash laundry. Many former slaves left the area to resettle in British territories.
“The Black Population inclined to join us is more numerous on the Shores of the Potowmac than any where else within the Chesapeake.”
-Rear Admiral George Cockburn to Sir Alexander Cochrane, July 17, 1814
(right) Rear Admiral George Cockburn organized former slaves as a special unit of the Colonial Corps of Marines to fight alongside British soldiers in 1814.
Explore more Star-Spangled Banner Trial
* George Washington Birthplace — Visit the colonial-era farm here to learn more about the region’s early tobacco economy.
* Stratford Hall Plantation — Discover the Lee family connections to the War of 1812 while enjoying a spectacular view of the Potomac River.
* Nomini Creek — Travel by paddle or trailerable boat on the waters where British raiders came ashore twice in 1814.
Erected 2015 by National Park Service, US Department of Interior.
Location. 38° 10.982′ N, 76° 55.082′ W. Marker is in Colonial Beach, Virginia, in Westmoreland County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Popes Creek Road (Virginia Route 204) and Bridges Creek Road, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker is attached to the exterior wall of the George Washington Birthplace National Monument Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1732 Popes Creek Road, Colonial Beach VA 22443, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. “O! say can you see…” (here, next to this marker); War in the Chesapeake (a few steps from this marker); Explore a trail network (a few steps from this marker); George Washington Birthplace Site The Historic Area (within shouting distance of this marker); Popes Creek Plantation (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); George Washington’s Birthplace (approx. 0.2 miles away); Archeology at Popes Creek (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Colonial Beach.
Also see . . .
1. George Washington Birthplace National Monument. National Park Service (Submitted on August 22, 2016.)
2. Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. Fort McHenry National Monument and Shrine (Submitted on August 22, 2016.)
3. Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. National Park Service (Submitted on August 22, 2016.)
Categories. • African Americans • War of 1812 •
More. Search the internet for Free to Fight.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 22, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 20, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 20, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.