William Flora

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William "Billy" Flora (fl. 1775–1818) was a free-born African American from Virginia who served as a soldier on the Patriot side in the American Revolutionary War. He fought under Colonel William Woodford in the Battle of Great Bridge in December 1775, where he is widely acknowledged as the hero of the battle. A sentry at the bridge reported he was the last to cross as the British advanced. As he retreated from his post, under heavy fire from the British line, he ripped up a plank from the bridge. This made the British crossing, under fire from the colonials, impossible. As a result, the British were forced to withdraw to their ships. The only casualty on the American side survived to speak very highly of Flora and his courage.

Before the war Flora owned a prosperous livery stable. After the war, with the purchase and sale of property, he grew his business into a tidy fortune.

References[edit]

  • Carey, Charles W., Jr. "Flora, William". American National Biography Online, February 2000.