Oliver Cromwell (American soldier)

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Oliver Cromwell
Born (1752-05-24)May 24, 1752
Black Horse, Province of New Jersey
(now Columbus, New Jersey)
Died January 1853 (aged 100)
Burlington, New Jersey
Buried at Broad Street Methodist Church, Burlington, New Jersey
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Continental Army
Years of service 1777-1783
Rank Private
Unit 2nd New Jersey Regiment
Awards Badge of Military Merit

Oliver Cromwell (May 24, 1752 – January 1853) was an African-American soldier, who served in the American Revolutionary War. He was born a free black in Black Horse (now the Columbus section of Mansfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey),[1] and was raised as a farmer.

War service[edit]

Private Cromwell served in several companies of the 2nd New Jersey Regiment between 1777 and 1783, seeing action at the battles of Trenton (1776), Princeton (1777), Brandywine (1777), Monmouth (1778), and at the final siege of Yorktown (1781).[2]

After Yorktown, Cromwell left the army. Commander-in-Chief George Washington personally signed Cromwell's discharge papers and also designed the Badge of Military Merit, which he awarded to Cromwell.[3]

Some years after retirement, Cromwell applied for a veteran's pension. Although he was unable to read or write, local lawyers, judges and politicians came to his aid, and he was granted a pension of $96 a year. He purchased a 100-acre farm outside Burlington, fathered 14 children, then spent his later years at his home at 114 East Union Street in Burlington.[4]


Cromwell died in January 1853. He left behind several children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, but there was no one to raise a marker over the grave of the private. He lived to be 100 years old, outliving 8 of his children, and is buried in the cemetery of the Broad Street Methodist Church. His descendants live in the city to this day.[4]


It is possible that Cromwell is depicted in the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware portrait, although this is unlikely.


  1. ^ "African American Patriots of the Revolutionary War". fold3.com. 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Kaufmann, Sue (June 16, 2012). "Oliver Cromwell in Burlington - fighting the patriot cause". Hidden New Jersey. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  3. ^ Black Heroes of the American Revolution, by Burke Davis
  4. ^ a b "Oliver Cromwell". Burlington County Department of Cultural Affairs and Tourism. 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013.