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Below is the Oath of Allegiance taken by patriots at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
I do Swear or Affirm that I do renounce and refuse all allegiance to George the Third, King of Great Britain, his Heirs and Successors, and that I will be Faithful and bear true allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia, as a Free and Independent State and that I will not at any time, do, or Cause to be done, any matter or thing that will be prejudicial or Injurious to the Freedom and Independence thereof, as declared by Congress, and also, that I will discover and make known to some one Justice of the Peace for said State, all Treasons or Traitorous Conspiracies which I know or shall hereafter know to be formed against this or any of the United States of America, so help me God.
I found a list of patriots signing the Oath of Allegiance in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. This is truly an act of bravery. Not only were they willing to fight and give supplies, but they were willing to sign their name renouncing King George III and Great Britain. This was not just a signature, this could easily have been a death warrant, if we lost the war.
Take for example the Battle of Culloden on April 16, 1745 between the Highland Army of Prince Charles and the Royal Troops of George II. The Highland Army lost the battle. The day after the battle the Royal Troops were sent back to the field of battle and they were instructed to kill everyone that was still living. Anyone that was lucky enough to escape the battle were hunted down and either taken as prisoners and traitors to the crown or killed on the spot. Lord Cumberland who was the Commander of the troops rode into Inverness with his bloody sword held high. Many fleeing Highlanders found refuge in a barn on the Old Leanach Farm. The Royal Troops surrounded the barn and set it on fire. Some wounded soldiers found their way out of the battlefield and were promised medical attention if they surrendered. After the surrender they were executed. These kind of atrocities continued for months.
3,470 Jacobites (Highlanders) were taken prisoner. 120 were executed, 88 died in prison, 936 were sent to the colonies, 222 banished and 700 prisoners disappeared off the face of the earth. No one knows what happened to them.
This was thirty years before the Revolutionary War. This had to be common knowledge among many of the colonists. They also would be considered traitors to the crown and with possibly the same retribution in the future, if they lost.
I found Charles Walden's name on the Oath list and William Ward's name. That could easily be a rope around their neck and their families.
The flag above is the Flag of Virginia which was adopted in 1776. The motto is Sic Semper Tyrannis. Latin for Thus Always To Tyrants. The Flag has two figures. The One standing is a Woman representing Virginia and Virtue. She is standing over the man who is holding a scourge and chain and his crown has fallen off of his head.
I cannot even imagine what bravery coursed through those veins.
Culloden Tales: Stories from Scotland's Most Famous Battlefield
CULLODEN: The History and Archaeology of the Last Clan Battle
Scottish Battles: Culloden Moor/The Battle of Flodden/The Battle of Bannockburn/The Battle of Sterling
VIRGINIA OFFICIAL STATE FLAG