Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.
The story of men like William Lee cannot be comprehended without a good knowledge of the war and American military customs established by George Washington. From Washington through today, all senior officers have personal aides in addition to staff officers and enlisted men assigned to them; and through at least World War II with men like General Patton, personal aides normally included a Black man for duties as valet and other tasks that often put them in harm's way experienced by the master blaster.
The American Revolutionary War affected and involved Blacks, Native Americans and Whites. Thousands of combatants like William Lee were not freemen, and thus not counted as soldiers.
The Black men listed as serving in the Revolution were those approx. 5,000 listed as freemen among the approximately 295,000 Native Americans, Whites and Mulattoes passing as White. And, there were over 25,000 Black men according to British archives that served in their forces against the rebellion giving substance to contents of book excerpt (Chapter 2 ) that follows: