British Colonial Marines Were Comprised Of Freed Slaves.

by Daniel Russ on February 19, 2015

.It’s amazing what people will do for their freedom. It’s amazing what taking someone’s freedom away will do to change them. Suffice it to say that the horrific journey from free man to uniformed soldier for the Corps of Colonial Marines was one of the least expected transformations ever.  These freed or runaway American slaves cast their lot with the Crown and fought in campaigns from the War of 1812 until the end of the guerrilla conflicts with the forces under Andrew Jackson in 1816.
British Rear Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane formed the British Corps of Colonial Marines. After two years of constant battle, they were disbanded and split up. Some were sold back into slavery after capture at Fort Negro, now known as Fort Gadsden.
Many of the British Corps of Colonial Marines took part in the burning of Washington. It must have been the ultimate schaudenfreude, helping to burn the capitol of the very nation that captured and enslaved you.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

John Rodgaard October 6, 2019 at 12:57 pm

I am writing a book about those North Americans who served in the Royal Navy between 1780s and 1837, and I would like to know if I can use the photograph, showing British Corps of Colonial Marine re-enactors as one of my illustrations.
Of course the illustration would be properly cited.
Thank you.
John Rodgaard
Captain, USN Rtd
Author of the forthcoming book, From Across the Sea: North Americans in Nelson’s Navy.

Daniel Russ October 7, 2019 at 6:12 am

I don’t own any of these photos. I don’t charge for membership either. Good luck on your book, and if you send us a copy we’ll feature a story on it.

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