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Joe Becton, Battle of Germantown Re-enactor, Celebrating the Heritage of African American Soldiers

August 19, 2013

This year leading up to the battle we wanted to highlight a few different perspectives from the faithful people who get involved and make this annual event a success. Whether they join us each year behind the scenes or on the front line we wanted to give you all some insight into the battle. Our first blog features Mr. Joe Becton, a long-time supporter and African American re-enactor.

1. What interests you most about the Battle of Germantown?
Mr. Becton: The battle of Germantown and the siege of Fort Mifflin are Philadelphia’s two military actions. The Quakers stood for peace, consequently there were only two battles fought here. This is a special Philadelphia story: War vs. Peace!

2. When did you first learn about the re-enactment of the Battle of Germantown?
Mr. Becton: In 1985 I worked as a seasonal at Valley Forge and was introduced to the Philadelphia campaign.

3. What drew you to being a re-enactor?
Mr. Becton: Necessity, There are very few people telling the story of the African participation in the birth and development of this nation and the definition of freedom. The Germantown festival gives us a platform to deliver our Story.

Here is a short list of Africans who served at Germantown in the Continental Army.
Blacks at the Battle of Germantown,

5th Connecticut, Colonel Phillip Bradley’s Regiment
Captain Eli Catlin’s Company
1. Cash Africa- 1775-1776-1777-1783, Litchfield
2. Jack Congo- 1777-1778, Ridgefield
3.Cato Cuff- 1777-1782, Stonington
4. Jack Negro-1777-1778
Captain Abner Prior’s Company
5. Edward Negro (Ned)- 1777-1778, Windsor
6. Phillip Negro- 1777-1782, Simsbury
7. Plymouth Negro- 1777-1779, Windsor
8. Prince Negro- 1777-1779, Wallingford
9. John Bristler (Brister)- 1777-1783, Windsor
Captain Josiah Child’s Company
10. Ceasar Fiddler (Fider)- 1777-1780
11. Jack Green- 1777-1780, Killingly
Captain Ezekiel Stanford Company
12. Ebenezer Jacklin- 1777-1778, Ridgefield

7th Connecticut Colonel Herman Swift’s Regiment
Captain Stephen Hall’s Company
1. Cuff Niger- 1777, Guiliford
Captain Elizur Warner’ s Company
2. Prince Crosley- 1777-1782, North Milford
3. Lemuel Pete- 1777-1780, Waterbury
Captain Phinea’s Beardsley Company
4. Lemuel Cumber- 1777-1781, Wallingsford
5. Call Freeman (Cuff)- 1777-1783, Kent
Captain Samuel Sanford Company
6. Peter Meranda (Morondo)- 1777-1782
Captain Theodore Woodbridge’s Company
7. Robin Starr (Robbin)- 1777-1783, Danbury
Captain Ebenezer Hill’s Company
8. Samuel Phillips- 1777, North Milford

3rd Pennsylvania Artillery Colonel Thomas Proctor’s Regiment
Captain Herculues Courtney’s Battery
1. Edward Hector- 1777, Waggoner
Hero of Brandywine

5th Pennsylvania Lt. Colonel Francis Johnson’s Regiment
Captain James Moore’s Company
2. John Emery- 1777, Philadelphia, Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh and Valley Forge

9th Pennsylvania Colonel
Captain Joseph Erwin’s Company
3. John Nagle (Nagel)- 1777, Dauphlin County

4. What do you enjoy about the Germantown re-enactment every year?
Mr. Becton: I enjoy seeing old friends every year buying books and creating a historic scene to capture the publics imagination and invite epiphany.


Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 3.02.39 PMJoe Becton, a retired National Park Service Ranger, is one of Philadelphia’s finest historic interpreters. He is a member of two re-enactor troops that celebrate the heritage of African American soldiers in both the War for Independence and the Civil War. Joe Becton is a member of the Rhode Island Regiment of Revolutionary War re-enactors as well as of the United States Colored Troop. For more information, please visit his website

Look for more personal stories about the battle of Germantown as we gear up for our Revolutionary Germantown Festival on Saturday October 5, 2013 at Cliveden, 6401 Germantown Ave. Cliveden logo

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