Joseph Harris Slavery

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Joseph Harris and the Battle of Hampton: Slavery as a Spark For my second response essay, I have chosen to review and respond to Chapter five of the third part of Woody Holton’s book Forced Founders titled “Free Virginians Versus Slaves and Governor Dunmore”. During the six months following the battles of Lexington and Concord, fighting between British troops and the American Colonists had largely been confined primarily in the Northern colonies, with its counterpart, the south; almost completely undisturbed. However, this would rampantly change, for on the morning of October 27th, 1775 a squadron of British naval vessels lay siege on the colonial town of Hampton, Virginia. Thus the decree that the American Revolutionary War had arisen on the southern front. According to Holton, the battle of Hampton had partly occurred due to the actions of a “small mulatto man” by the name of Joseph Harris. Interestingly, only four months prior to the battle, Harris had resided in Hampton as the property of a white fellow Hampton resident named Henry King. As Harris had served King in the capacity of a pilot on the Chesapeake Bay. Harris was reported to have…show more content…
Aboard was two black men, “1 white woman” and several white men including Joseph Wilson an indentured servant who had escaped from George Washington. According to an American colonial newspaper, the white prisoners were “treated with great humanity” while the black crewman were “tried for their lives.” Thomas Jefferson, then a Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress, would report of the Battle of Hampton in a letter to a man by the name of John Randolph stating that it “raised our country into perfect phrensy.” If Joseph Harris had not taken the leap towards freedom, or if Captain Squire had not been in need of his services, the battle between the forces of Squire and the American colonial residents of Hampton might not have come to battle at that
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