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Statement of Jehu Grant, who fled slavery to fight in the Revolutionary War, 1836
At the time of the revolutionary war, Jehu Grant was a slave living in Narragansett, Rhode Island. In this statement, submitted as part of a pension claim some sixty years after the war, he describes with poignant simplicity how he was lured by the promise of freedom to flee his Loyalist master and enlist in the American Army: ". . . when I saw liberty poles and the people all engaged for the support of freedom I could not but like and be pleased with such a thing (God forgive me if I sinned in so feeling)." For ten months, from summer 1777 to sprint 1778, he served as a teamster, until his master tracked him down and brought him back to Rhode Island. The Government denied Jehu Grant a pension, explaining that since he had been a fugitive slave at the time of his enlistment, his service could not be recognized. Grant was one of an estimated 3,000 blacks who fought for the American cause during the War for Independence.