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The Ethiopian Regiment

  • Battlefield Park, 1775 Historic Way, Chesapeake, VA 23320
  • Phone: (757) 382-6411


Among the combatants fighting in the Battle of Great Bridge, December 9, 1775, were the members of the British Army's Ethiopian Brigade - fighting on the British side. In the month prior to the battle, Lord Dunmore, the British governor of Virginia, had issued a proclamation promising freedom after the war to any enslaved person who could make it to the British lines. the regiment wore sashes inscribed with the battle cry Liberty to Slaves. Dunmore and the British soon left Virginia in defeat, but across the South, the prospect of armed, trained former slaves fighting alongside the British proved more threatening to white society than British redcoats. At the Battle of Great Bridge, the Ethiopian Regiment was one of the earliest black units to fight for freedom.