James Armistead

by Daksh from Eden Prarie

"Freedom is never given; it is won." by A. Philip Randolph
Picture of James Armistead (
Picture of James Armistead (

James Armistead is my hero. James Armistead is my Hero because he helped in the Revolutionary War. James Armistead was the first African American spy. He helped win an important battle at Yorktown in the Revolutionary War. James Armistead is a great hero.

James Armistead was born in 1748 and was born into slavery. He wanted to join the US Army so he could fight in the Revolutionary war, his master let him. He served for Marquis de Lafayette who was the head of the French who were helping the Americans. Armistead joined the army at the age of 33.

James Armistead became a spy when Lafayette employed him. He pretended to be a runaway slave employed by the British to spy on the US. He successfully learned about the British’s plans. He easily told Lafayette about their plans. James Armistead was a very successful spy for Lafayette.

George Washington used the information James gave and was able to prevent the reinforcement of 1,000 troops from Britain. The American and French blockade stopped the British army. The Americans won at Yorktown and the British had to surrender. They officially surrendered on October 19, 1781. They won partially because of James Armistead.

After all his hard work he continued to be a slave. He wasn’t allowed emancipation because he wasn’t a soldier, he was a spy. Later he was allowed emancipation and Lafayette helped him write a recommendation for his freedom, which was granted in 1787. Armistead was so happy and grateful to Lafayette he took his surname.

After he was free he lived in New Kent County, Virginia. He also got married and raised a big family. He got 40 dollars (which was a lot) every year for helping with the war. He finally died on August 9, 1830.

Page created on 6/6/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 1/5/2017 11:50:46 PM

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