Fighting the Revolution—
Virginians in the Battle
Whether they picked up a weapon or watched from the sidelines, every person in the Commonwealth was affected by the fighting of the Revolutionary War. One segment of the population, the free and enslaved African Americans, had a particularly hard choice. By the end of the war, both the Americans and the British were offering freedom to slaves who would join the fight on their respective sides. The rhetoric and ideals of the American Revolution were definitely known to enslaved people as were the promises made by both the Americans and the British. Essentially individuals like James and Billy, two enslaved men who ended up on opposite sides of the war, had to decide which side constituted the safest choice for their own security and ultimate freedom.