When the Revolution broke out I was one of many New Jersey slaves who were agricultural laborers and lived independently in small cabins. In Monmouth County, unrest among us slaves prompted the county’s white leaders to argue against manumission and slaves being out at night. They also confiscated arms from both free blacks and slaves. This may have prompted me to run off.
As a Loyalist freedman, what others called a runaway slave, I turned to raid warfare as a way of making a living. In 1779, Loyalist raids against New Jersey rebel areas increased in frequency and intensity. A year later, I joined a growing group of runaway slaves based at Refugeetown, a settlement on Sandy Hook near the lighthouse and British naval base and became the leader of a new Loyalist group called the Black Brigade. Under my leadership, the Black Brigade launched a string of raids in which we captured horses, plundered houses, and captured rebels.
During one raid, I took “several Negroes and a great deal of stock” making people think that I was either liberating other African Americans, or, potentially, selling them as war booty. On September 1, I attempted my boldest raid, marching ten miles inland to Colts Neck to capture Captain Joshua Huddy. In the action on that raid I was shot in the wrist and died shortly thereafter from lockjaw caused by the wound. The Black Brigade continued on, but was less effective after my death. Black Loyalists continued to raid rebels into 1782.