"Deeds of Desperate Valor": The First Rhode Island Regiment

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The First Rhode Island Regiment in August of 1778 was a nearly all-black unit made up largely of recently freed slaves. Commended for valor by commanders in its own day, and a frequent reference for abolitionists in the nineteenth century for “deeds of desperate valor,” the First Rhode Island has been largely forgotten in our own. It is important, however, when considering the Revolution to understand that men fought not only for the idea of political liberty, but also for personal liberty.