Revolutionary War soldier to be honored with memorial stone

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Alabama Society Sons of the American Revolution, in conjunction with the Wiregrass Chapter, will hold a Memorial Stone Dedication Program for Revolutionary War soldier, Jim Capers, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1 at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church near Orion.

Malon Murphy, Wiregrass Chapter president, said Capers is the first black Revolutionary War soldier documented to be buried in the State of Alabama.

“Jim Capers enlisted in the 4th S.C. Regiment as a drummer,” Murphy said. “The drummer was a key member of the unit during the American Revoalution. The drum served the same purpose as the bugle does today.”

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Murphy said it was the regimental drummer that transmitted orders by means of his drum. With the appropriate drumbeat, an officer could summon his officers or the entire Regiment by the drumbeat.

“During the battle, the drum communicated between the different units,” Murphy said. “The drum beat could order an attack or a withdrawal. It could sped up the soldiers or slow them down. So, Jim Capers had a very important role to play in the American Revolution for seven years.”

Capers applied for a pension in Pike County in 1849. He was 107 years old.

“He said he waited so long because he didn’t realize that, as a free man of color, he was eligible for a pension,” Murphy said.

The Memorial Stone Dedication Program for Jim Capers is a way to remember and recognize the diverse cultural background of the men and women who fought to gain the freedoms Americans have today, Murphy said.

A color guard and a musket volley are planned for the ceremony. A reception will follow the program in the church fellowship hall. In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held in the church sanctuary.