1740 ca1797
Patriot seaman. Born a slave in Virginia around 1740, Caesar took the last name of his owner, Carter Tarrant. Acquiring the unusual skill of river pilot, a knowledge generally denied to slaves for fear that they would use it to escape, Tarrant saw the American Revolution as a chance to gain his freedom. Though Virginia's royal governor, Lord Dunmore, promised freedom to slaves who joined his forces, Tarrant offered his skills to the Patriots and was named a pilot in the Virginia navy in 1775. Over the next three years he guided ships through the state's coastal waters and become a trusted pilot.
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