Saturday, February 25, 2012

James Armistead Lafayette

James Armistead Lafayette [Facsimile of the Marquis de Lafayette's original certificate commending James Armistead Lafayette for his revolutionary war service with portrait after John B. Martin.]

John Blennerhassett Martin, 1797-1857 -- Artist. Created Date
: November 21st, 1784. Source: Miscellaneous American letters and papers. / Slavery and abolition.

Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture / Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. The New York Public Library. Digital ID: 1243992, Record ID: 596970.

After getting consent of his master, he volunteered in 1781 to join the army under General Lafayette. He was stationed as a spy. First he spied on Brigadier General Benedict Arnold (by this time, Arnold had defected from the American Continental Army to lead British forces). After Arnold departed north in the spring of 1781, James went to the camp of Lord Cornwallis. He relayed much information about the British plans for troop deployment and about their arms. The intelligence reports from his espionage were instrumental in helping to defeat the British during the Battle of Yorktown.

While pretending to be a British spy, Armistead gained the confidence of General Benedict Arnold and General Cornwallis. Arnold was so convinced of Armistead's pose as a runaway slave that he used him to guide British troops through local roads. Armistead often traveled between camps, spying on British officers, who spoke openly about their strategies in front of him. Armistead documented this information in written reports, delivered them to other American spies, and then return to General Cornwallis's camp.

Lafayette, James Armistead [Fa... Digital ID: 1243992. New York Public LibraryBecause he was an intelligence agent and not technically a soldier, James could not qualify for emancipation under the Act of 1783, so with the support of William Armistead, he petitioned the Virginia State Legislature for his freedom. He received a letter of commendation dated November 21, 1784 from the Marquis de Lafayette. The facsimile of the letter of commendation can be viewed to the left. On January 9, 1786, the Virginia State legislature granted the slave known only as "James" his freedom for services rendered and bravery as a spy during the siege of Yorktown. It was at that time that he chose the name 'Armistead' for his middle name and 'Lafayette' for his surname, to honor the general.

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1923 in this case November 21st, 1784, are now in the public domain.

James Armistead Lafayette

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case John Blennerhassett Martin, 1797-1857 and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year. +sookie tex

TEXT RESOURCE: James Armistead From Wikipedia

1 comment:

Project Public Domain Pictures said...

Nice collection. I myself is releasing my amateur photos into public domain. Keep it up!

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