My name is Strika Shakiki. I am a former slave where I was stationed in New York City. This is the story of my experiences in the Battle of Saratoga. My slave master was George Washington. His assistant that handled me was named John Ward. John was a very harsh master. My best friend was a former slave named William Hayes, and he helped me get freed along with himself. We were planning to escape from slavery and we came up with many ways to escape. The best plan we had was to knock him out, tie him up, then run away.
One day, I was working on the farm and John was nagging me to work faster. “Work faster you lowly n****s these farms aren't going to farm themselves!”, he said. “Yessir”, we both replied. “Strika!! Do not backsass me you n****.”, John said. Then he turned his back to walk away and I had a hoe in my hand. There was no one else near me and him besides William. I decided right there I was going to seize my opportunity to escape from John. He was walking away then I hit him in the back of the head. He went to sleep so William tied him and we ran away from the farm as fast as I could. I suggested we should part ways because it would be suspicious to see two black slaves together. William said that we should stay together because he there is dangers and we would be safer.
We ran away together but I was planning to ditch him so I could find work for myself. Later that day, William went to sleep. As soon as he closed his eyes, I ran and ran and ran until my legs could no longer support my body. It took about four days until I got to Saratoga. It would be easier for me to find work there. When I arrived my dreams were crushed. No matter where I went to work every boss would discriminate because of my color.
I was sitting on the curb one day and a soldier approached me. “What is a n**** like you not doing work around here, especially at the times of war?”, he said to me. “ I am a freed slave.” I replied to him. He then suggested that I should join the army and I turned the offer down. “You should join now before General Horatio Gates starts soldier recruitment. Or else you may face jail time or worse penalties.” He warned me. I once again turned down the offer. A few days later, General Horatio recruited me to be apart of the Continental army. I did not turn him down because if we win the revolutionary war everyone will have their own freedom. The British are the reason that the patriots need to have slaves because, with the patriots being owned by the British then they will keep giving money to the British. When we win we will have our own money and have no more need for slaves.
The next month, (October 7th, 1777) I became a soldier. During the preparations there was a man named Baron Von Steuben who trained us while I was at Valley Forge. He walked among the 100 men in formation at Valley Forge, adjusting our muskets. He showed us how to march at 75 steps a minute, then 120. When our discipline broke down, he swore at us in German and French, and with his only English curse word: “Goddamn!”. The way he trained us was motivating because he gave broken down soldiers new confidence to continue fighting for the sake of America. After our training, the troops and I started marching to the battlefield and on our way we heard a loud “BOOM!!”. Everyone of us were shaking scared in our uniforms. But we had to continue in the fight.
When we started fighting we lined up and were marching together and the British opposed us. On the other side I saw William Morgan, the “best friend” that I ditched. He gave me a look with killing intent in his eyes, then a second later I heard a musket fire and I felt a sharp pain in my chest. I looked again at William and he was wearing a red coat. Everything went in slow motion as I collapsed to the ground. I could barely breathe and I looked down at my chest and saw a mortal hole in my left chest. Everything then went dark, then I died.