Saul Matthews was an enslaved African American who spied for the Continental Army during American Revolutionary War. He spied on the British, obtaining valuable information for the Patriots. As a result of this, he was given his full freedom from slavery by the Virginia legislature in 1792: "In consideration of many very essential services rendered to this Commonwealth during the late war … full liberty and freedom … as if he was born free."


Born in Virginia, Saul Mathews was a slave of Thomas Mathews.[1]

American Revolutionary WarEdit

In 1781 General Cornwallis and his troops captured Portsmouth, Virginia. Saul Matthews was under the command of Colonel Josiah Parker when several times Parker ordered him to go into British camps and spy on them. He always returned with much success and information, even though he was forced back into slavery for about 10 years.[citation needed] In 1792 he successfully petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for freedom again.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Burke Davis (2 January 1992). Black Heroes of the American Evolution. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 57. ISBN 978-0152085612. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. ^ Darlene Clark Hine; Earnestine Jenkins (12 October 1999). "Black Men's History: Toward a Gendered Perspective". In Darlene Clark Hine (ed.). A Question of Manhood. 1. Indiana University Press. pp. 11, 180. ISBN 978-0253213433. Retrieved 3 September 2012.

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