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William "Billy" Flora (1755-1818)


Revolutionary War Hero.

A black man, born free and determined to fight for his country, Billy Flora was a patriot who is widely acknowledged as the hero of the Battle of Great Bridge, December 9, 1775. This battle played a significant role in the Continental Army’s reclaim of Virginia.

During the battle, Flora was the last of the patriots retreating across the bridge. Under heavy fire, he stopped and pulled up enough of the bridge’s planking to stop the British advance. His actions resulted in one of the first land victories of the war. This victory led to the British army’s retreat from Virginia.

Flora was also among the troops that besieged and captured Lord Charles Cornwallis and his army at Yorktown in 1781. After the war, Flora operated a successful cartage and livery stable business based in Portsmouth, VA. He purchased freedom for his wife and two children and is believed to be the first Black man to own land in Portsmouth, VA. Directions to site and what you’ll find there if available or address that it is not available for visit/name of podcast episode