8 From the outset of the war, slaves had been pouring into Federal camps seeking safety and freedom. Although, the troops were not successful in conquering Ford Wagner, the sacrifice and valor of the soldiers proved that the slaves wanted freedom and they could lay down their life to achieve it. Slaves who ran away toward Union troops were a. returned to their masters. Pete had “kindled a bright fire” and procured food from “four full haversacks” scavenged off the lifeless corpses of Union 1st Corps dead. Unwilling to completely forsake Joe’s loyalty, an advertisement for his return speculated that he “ran away…or was captured…on Gen. Lee’s retreat from Pennsylvania.”, During the retreat, Captain Charles Waddell of the 12th Virginia (Mahone’s Brigade) briefly left the regiment, returning to find that his slave Willis had seized the opportunity to escape, taking with him Waddell’s camp equipage. Just as white Southern soldiers ate well in Pennsylvania, so too did the army’s contingent of slaves. George “nursed his wounded master”—first at the impromptu field hospital set up at the Samuel Lohr farm, and later still in Union captivity, at hospitals in nearby Mercersburg, and eventually at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. “We don’t pay but 80 cts a piece a month for him, and I had much rather pay that than to be standing over a hot fire cooking.” Samuel Burney and his mess mates in Cobb’s Georgia Legion shared a camp slave named Daniel, who “does all for us; brings wood, water, cooks, spreads down beds, blacks shoes, &c.” Although Daniel was not his slave, Burney seemed satisfied with his function as a shared servant, opining that he “does me as well as if he were mine.”, Life for camp slaves was often grueling and harsh. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton); wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Just like the Virginia slave Beverly, the prospect of a prolonged, perhaps permanent separation from loved ones—coupled with fears of retribution against relatives still in bondage—discouraged many slaves from running away once the army reached Pennsylvania soil. No. Runaway slaves who were not claimed were sold at public auction. Contraband camps were refugee camps to which between four hundred thousand and five hundred thousand enslaved men, women, and children in the Union-occupied portions of the Confederacy fled … Even Robert E. Lee acknowledged in May 1863 that “our negroes” constituted “the chief source of information to the enemy.” Escaped slaves often proved valuable informants to the Army of the Potomac’s intelligence chief, Colonel George H. Sharpe. Pender, who castigated the treatment of camp slaves, paid his servant Joe $15 per month—higher than the average Confederate private’s monthly wage ($11). American Civil War - American Civil War - The Emancipation Proclamation: Despite its shocking casualty figures, the most important consequence of Antietam was off the field. “They desert.”. Stepping foot on free soil (most likely for the first time), they confronted a cruel dilemma—family or freedom. Yet just months earlier, the colonel’s wife had offered George a potent reminder of the family ties that probably motivated his return. It technically freed the slaves in the states in rebellion, but not the ones in the Border states that had stayed loyal. “My opinion is that he was enticed away or forcibly detained by some negro worshipper,” the Alabamian reasoned, “as he had always been prompt and faithful, and seemed much attached to me.”. • For enslaved people, the Gettysburg Campaign had a wholly different meaning than the decisive Union victory celebrated in Northern papers, or the bitter defeat that Southerners only begrudgingly conceded. Regular Army units were consolidating their position at Fort Craig and Fort Union to protect the upper Rio Grande valley against any Confederate columns coming from Texas. Karel Capek, Czech writer and playwright, best remembered for his play R.U.R., which contained the first use of the word "robot.". The southern Pennsylvania countryside, by comparison, seemed a veritable cornucopia of agricultural bounty. The loyalty of Confederate slaves has proved a bedeviling topic in public memory of the Civil War. While the British observer Arthur Fremantle recorded that each of Lee’s regiments had from “twenty to thirty negro slaves,” the precise number of camp slaves the Army of Northern Virginia brought to Gettysburg remains unknown. Reading between the lines, we can attempt to recover some of what enslaved people experienced, but crucially not all of their thoughts, feelings, and motivations are clear to us. Texan forces executed one runaway slave taken prisoner and resold another into slavery. During the Civil War , the Union Army frequently occupied much of Alabama's Tennessee Valley from the spring of 1862 on. b. armed and forced to fight against the Rebels. From the outset of the war, notably, even before the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves ran away from their owners to the advancing Union Army lines. Escape, under these circumstances, would have amounted to a “suicide mission,” in the words of scholar Colin Woodward. “We have hired a negro man to cook for us,” wrote one Confederate soldier. Many proponents of the myth point to a post-battle report published in the New York Herald on July 11, 1863, which counted “among the rebel prisoners…seven negroes in uniform and fully accoutered as soldiers.” These men, however, were not soldiers, but among the thousands of camp slaves accompanying Lee’s army. returned to their masters. While Confederates viewed their slaves’ return as proof of unflinching loyalty, in most cases enslaved people’s true allegiances rested with their family members,  who remained in bondage. Nor did Pender’s earlier criticisms prevent him from administering the lash. Farther to the south, an Amelia County, Va., slave owner advertised for the return of a slave who had accompanied him during the Peninsula Campaign “and has since been anxious to go to the army again.”. Just days after Lee’s cautionary epistle, a slave who ran away from Brig. Although Pennsylvania was a free state, throughout the Gettysburg Campaign Confederates occupied large swaths of the south central part, and were already rounding up blacks without regard to their legal status. As the slaves made their way to freedom, the town of Natchez went from a population of 10,000 to 120,000 people almost overnight. Rolling with laughter, he recorded its provenance from “one of our negro cooks.” Although Sam’s story was that of a slave on the front lines, this Mississippi soldier—along with most white Southerners—considered Sam first and foremost a slave, not a fighting man. Federal policy regarding slaves who ran away from their masters and came to the Union army was contradictory and confused in the first years of the war. S… armed and forced to fight against the Confederacy. Most slaves had spent their entire lifetime in slavery, and the past several years in war-torn Virginia. c. given their freedom. Slaves and a small number of free African Americans might also have received cash for taking on additional tasks, or simply as a “bonus” for good work. Just how many camp slaves escaped during the Gettysburg Campaign remains unknown, though several individual cases do survive. “A great many negroes have gone to the Yankees,” wrote Edgeworth Bird, a quartermaster for Benning’s Georgia brigade, in a letter dated July 9. An attack on the Confederate position on June 3 resulted in heavy casualties for the Union, and nine days later, Grant led his army away from Cold Harbor to Petersburg, Virginia, a rail center that supplied Richmond. These southerners joined the Union army, that is, the army of the United States of America, and worked to defeat the Confederacy. Union officers took the initiative to actually free slaves. Cloudflare Ray ID: 60f194ac0f580476 “Discovering that he would be. killed. Inability to raise enough finances to support the war. Because “de abolitioners met us dar—we was de ‘men’ and day de ‘asses.’” While Sam’s parting quip—if indeed his own words—might have conveyed some vague sense of camaraderie, white Southerners were quick to remind him and other camp slaves of their secondary status. Du Bois and Bell Irvin Wiley, suggests that slaves who ran away to the Union army during the first two years of the Civil War forced military and civilian officials to take steps toward emancipation. “I have seen the favourite & most petted negroes the first to leave in every instance.” According to General Joseph Johnston, “desertion” also plagued Confederate armies’ camp slaves. “By 8 o’clock my mess were all filled with real coffee and other substantials.”. A prisoner from the 1st Minnesota encountered a similar scene on the morning of July 3, as he was escorted behind Confederate lines, observing “long lines of negro cooks baking corn pone for rebel soldiers at the front.” Once the firing sputtered to a close, many camp slaves were faced with the unenviable task of traversing the battlefield in search of their wounded or potentially slain masters. While “a man can do everything that a soldier has to do,” reasoned a Mississippian who later joined Barksdale’s Brigade, “it is needlessly making a slave of himself if he can get some one else to do it for him.” Before his family sent an enslaved man named Jim to act as his servant, the Mississippi officer “scarcely had time to write a letter or read a line; now I have plenty to do both.”, Often lacking the funds to purchase their own slave, many enlisted men pooled their money to hire (or “rent”) an enslaved person from his master, or hire a free black servant. Thousands of black men accompanied Confederate armies into the field, but virtually none were fighting men. Jimmy Page, musician, songwriter, producer; member of The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and other bands. President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued September 22, 1862, declared freedom to slaves in the confederate states that did not return to the control of the Union by January 1, 1863. “Negro servants hunting for their masters were a feature of the landscape,” recalled Confederate artillerist Edward Porter Alexander. If you are at an office or shared network, you can ask the network administrator to run a scan across the network looking for misconfigured or infected devices. ... Patsey Fossett – ran away in 1827, and living free in Cincinnati by the time of the 1850 Census; ... "Monticello Slaves Who Gained Freedom." Why was the place of battle called Manassas, he asked? “Our negroes are not at all prepossessed with their Yankee brethren,” Wood wrote home, “and I don’t suppose one in the Regt. “A chance for freedom they had,” bragged Private William S. White of the 3rd Richmond Howitzers, “but they preferred life and slavery in Dixie to liberty at the North.” Thoroughly coached in proslavery paternalism, White predicted that freedom would be an “absolute curse” to “careless” African Americans, who would “ever miss their kind and considerate masters.”, Some even claimed that slaves were more eager than white Confederates to wreak havoc on Yankee territory, in revenge for the hard war waged throughout much of the Union-occupied South. In the wake of the battle, 64 black laborers who had been traveling with rebel forces were captured by the Union. As the army entered Pennsylvania, Henry became “very trifling,” Pryor wrote, and “dont care for any thing but to make money for himself.” Pryor thought that Henry “will get better” once he “got farther away from the free states.”, Many camp slaves who fell into Union hands were brought to Baltimore’s Fort McHenry. Largely convinced of their slaves’ loyalty, Confederates confidently toted their human property into a Northern free state. Runaway Slaves from Wessyngton Plantation 1862-1863. Most performed menial tasks like this man ready to shine an officer’s boots. When word of the captured camp slaves reached him, Birney headed directly to Fort McHenry. All seven were skilled tradesmen, ideally capable of finding employment as freed men. Some have even gone as far as to declare broadly that the Southern Army’s legion of camp slaves were active supporters of the Confederacy. Colored Troops—often concentrating his efforts in the city’s slave pens and prisons, much to the ire of Maryland slaveowners. These men formed bonds of camaraderie even while forced to serve a cause dedicated to keeping them in bondage. You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. An Alabama officer leveled just such an accusation after his “negro cook” Charles ran away in 1864. One of Lee’s divisional commanders, Maj. Gen. William Dorsey Pender, was “horrified, Confederate Maj. Gen. William Pender Dorsey paid his camp slave Joe a decent wage, but did not hesitate to whip him. One enslaved man, a servant in Cobb’s Legion, confirmed the presence of Lee and all three corps commanders at a recent review in nearby Culpeper, while also shedding light on the army’s trajectory toward Pennsylvania. ... before Lincoln ran … Contraband was a term commonly used in the United States military during the American Civil War to describe a new status for certain escaped slaves or those who affiliated with Union forces. The myth of “Black Confederates” has misconstrued and distorted the nature of slavery within Confederate armies. “He is a good and smart boy but like most young negroes needs correction badly.”. Shortly after the Antietam Campaign, Joe instantly aroused jealousy from white Confederate soldiers by purchasing “a nice gray uniform, french bosom linen shirt.” Pender determined that Joe would make no further purchases without his consent. During the summer of 1863, Birney was in Baltimore tasked with recruiting U.S. Shortly after their arrival, the men were visited by Colonel William Birney—the older brother of Maj. Gen. David Bell Birney, who had fought at Gettysburg and whose father was a prominent prewar abolitionist. (National Civil War Museum), It was in Union hands that George’s story takes a surprising turn. Not only that, but despite their own aspirations for freedom, many bondsmen remained tied to the South through enslaved family members back home. Morris was optimistic that the remaining number might be employed as “laborers, teamsters, &c&c,” though he noted that several of the men declared themselves to be free, “and have families to whom they desire to return.” Union officials debated this request, though Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ultimately decided that no black detainees would be sent south. There are many accounts of slaves being taken by union soldiers and running away from the union army to … Gen. William W. Morris, could count 64 “Negroes, Servants of Officers in the Rebel Army” from Gettysburg and the retreat. Two were freed during Jefferson's lifetime and five were freed by the terms of Jefferson's will. While some took flight as opportunities presented themselves, others stayed put, aspiring to keep their families intact despite slavery. The Union Army swept through Missouri during the early months of the war, and a Confederate guerrilla insurgency emerged to counter what many considered an enemy occupation. As the battle raged on to the east, the fallen colonel was joined by his slave. Gen. George H. Steuart’s Brigade correctly informed one of Sharpe’s men that the Confederate army “intended to march to the [Shenandoah] valley and visit Maryland.” A week later, after the fight at Brandy Station, Va., two slaves identified as officer’s servants came into the Union lines and shared more valuable information. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. Still, at least six managed to escape—a testament to the strength of family bonds. Like Beverly, they were forced to maintain a painful, evasive silence about their heart-wrenching brush with freedom, a uniquely human story of Gettysburg that remains largely untold. These claims require more context. Thousands of the men ended up enlisting in the Union army as part of the 180,000 African-American troops who fought for the North. In the defense of Atlanta, General Joseph E. Johnston called for 12,000 slaves to join his army as teamsters and cooks, but such a large number was never furnished for any general, although slaves were an important part of the campaign, building fallback lines for the stubbornly retreating Confederate army to man. “There was no way the Union would have won the war had it not been for the support of African-Americans,” said Stauffer. In the fall of 1835, a group of almost 100 slaves staged an uprising along the Brazos River after they heard rumors of approaching Mexican troops. to any amount.” Members of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans (Eshleman’s Battalion) similarly testified that Lee’s General Orders No. The canteens indicate his role as a camp slave rather than a fighting man. The commander of Union forces became notorious for overestimating the size of the Confederate troops his men were fighting--and using this as an excuse not to advance. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. Camp slaves occupied much of the First Day’s battlefield after it was firmly in Confederate hands, tending to the wounded, cooking meals for Southern soldiers, and caring for the army’s multitude of horses and animals. d. returned to their - 14097191 b. killed. Even the Rhode Island regiment was half black, half white, and the men were segregated into their own companies, but in the rest of the Army, they were integrated throughout the regiments. “Tell George his Mother & all are well,” Louisa Leventhorpe added in a letter to her husband written in February 1863. While Union desertion ran the full course of the war, there were periods when it spiked, most notably the winter and spring of 1863 in the wake of the Union army’s devastating defeat at Fredericksburg and its retreat following the Battle of Chancellorsville. There the abolitionist colonel “appealed to them as freemen,” and pointing to the “glorious” stars and stripes floating above, “urged them to assert their rights, and strike the blow that should deliver their oppressed brethren from the tyranny of their so called masters.”. If the North Carolina newspapers that celebrated George’s tale were to be believed, here was a slave running away to the South. “We never have been able to keep the impressed Negroes with an army near the enemy,” he admitted in January 1864. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. Joan Baez, American folk singer and activist. At Richmond, Lee received 2,000 or his requested 5,000 to relieve white teamsters for duty in … They used many as … to see how white men calling themselves gentlemen neglect their poor helpless negroes in this camp.” Paralleling the experience of many soldiers, slaves fell ill in startling numbers as unsanitary conditions and exposure to new diseases took their toll. d. armed and forced to fight against the Rebels. When referring to camp slaves, Confederate soldiers consistently used the terms “servant,” “cook,” or “negro”—making a clear distinction that the African Americans traveling with Lee’s army were laborers and servants, not soldiers. From Mercersburg, Confederate surgeon Thomas Fanning Wood proudly reported that a slave in his brigade had refused the invitation of local “abolition women” to help him escape. A prisoner from the 1st Minnesota encountered a similar scene on the morning of July 3, as he was escorted behind Confederate lines, observing “long lines of negro cooks baking corn pone for rebel soldiers at the front.” Once the firing sputtered to a close, many camp slaves were faced with the unenviable task of traversing the battlefield in search of their wounded or potentially slain masters. The unfolding conflict destabilized slavery as many of Missouri’s nearly 115,000 slaves took advantage of the ensuing chaos and struck a blow for their own freedom. Washington was “captured by the Yankees with our wagon trains in Pennsylvania,” but escaped, swam across the Potomac River, and eventually made his way to Richmond. For several months beginning in the summer of 1864, Army leadership ordered troops to harass and expel refugees from the camp and cooperated with slave owners to return their slaves. “I afterwards asked him about it, but he evaded my questions, and I could get nothing further from him, in relation to it.” For Beverly, the Gettysburg Campaign was another cruel reminder of the painful ironies and heartrending conditions of American slavery. Wingert has appeared on CSPAN Book TV, and is currently a student at Dickinson College. If anyone would be baffled by modern-day claims about “Black Confederates,” it would be Confederate soldiers. On July 6, several slaves belonging to the 3rd Richmond Howitzers were captured by Union forces, only to return to Confederate lines three days later. The African Americans accompanying the Army of Northern Virginia as camp slaves were noncombatants. Estimates ranged as high as that of Thomas Caffey—another Englishman, serving as a Confederate artillery officer—who placed the number at 30,000 “colored servants who do nothing but cook and wash,” to the more conventional figure of 6,000–10,000, adopted by most scholars. “Negro servants hunting for their masters were a feature of the landscape,” recalled Confederate artillerist Edward Porter Alexander. c. considered "contrabands of war." Shortly after the First Battle of Manassas, the Richmond Enquirer ran a satirical column about a camp slave named Sam who had purportedly followed his master into the thick of the “popin of de guns.” Sam wrapped up his story with a joke that seemed to place him in lockstep with white Confederates. (Virginia Museum of History and Culture). Seeking support and protection from the Union army the families of black recruits were abandoned and quickly realized they were unwelcome. In May 1861, an Alabama recruit’s first taste of camp life included winding his way through “throngs of negro cooks.” As they adjusted to army life, Confederate soldiers frequently wrote home, imploring relatives or acquaintances to “send me a negro boy.”, The presence of slaves allowed Lee’s soldiers to configure their camps as “small Southern communities,” in which bondsmen completed everyday tasks such as laundry, cooking, and caring for animals, while also seeing to their master’s personal comfort. Their flight led to the phenomenon of Civil War contraband camps. Again, the Union advance was halted, if only momentarily, as Grant awaited reinforcements. Most of his 31,000 troops were stationed two miles away in the small railroad town of Grand Junction, about 45 miles south of Memphis and a few miles north of the Mississippi state line. In postwar reminiscences, former Confederates extolled the virtues of their similarly “devoted” slaves. During the conflict, Southern papers churned out sentimental stories of “faithful” slaves combing battlefields to retrieve the bodies of their wounded or slain masters, anecdotes that painted the slave system in a harmonious and favorable light. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. Most Confederates were unwilling or unable to believe that slaves had legitimate reasons for leaving, much less the agency and wherewithal to plot their own escapes. Your IP: 51.75.207.239 It was in Union hands that George’s story takes a surprising turn. Several slaves ran away to serve with Mexican forces. Refugee camps were established on confiscated plantations to house thousands of slaves liberated by the Emancipation Proclamation and provide them with care. To reconstruct the lives and experiences of enslaved people, historians are often forced to sift through diaries, letters, and reminiscences left by whites. Yet as events quickly demonstrated, Joe’s status was still secondary to that of white Confederate soldiers. On July 1, 1863, George’s master, Colonel Collett Leventhorpe, led his 11th North Carolina Infantry (Pettigrew’s Brigade) across Willoughby Run and smashed into the left flank of the famed Iron Brigade. After the fighting on July 1 had concluded, Confederate artillery officer Coupland R. Page met his “negro boy, Pete” along the Chambersburg Pike west of town. –C.H.W. Those who remained on the plantation, undermined the system and drastically decreased productivity. Family ties likely influenced George, the slave of an English-born Confederate officer. Legions of enslaved people labored as servants, cooks, and teamsters, helping to free Southern whites to fight. An enslaved man named Joe—who served a group of brothers in the 18th Mississippi—disappeared during the retreat from Gettysburg. At least 16 followed Birney’s call and enlisted, while another eight left with Union regiments as cooks. By the time the war was over in 1865, about 180, 000 black men had served in the Union army. could be induced to leave.” Confederates seized upon their slaves’ supposed loyalty on free soil to paint a picture of affectionate master-slave relationships and a benign slave system. • As soon as the Civil War began, many free black men in the North wanted to fight for the Union cause. General Pender boasted that his servant Joe “enters into the invasion with much gusto and is quite active in looking up hidden property.” Pender maintained the excitement extended beyond just Joe and included the army’s entire accompaniment of slaves, who “seem to have more feeling in the matter than the white men and have come to the conclusion that they will [im]press horses, etc., etc. COMPANY “There are several in my Reg’t and they are all so well contented, that every thing moves along easy with them.” When slaves did escape, disgruntled Confederates echoed the accusations that slaveholders had been repeating for decades—a third party, an abolitionist or a “Yankee,” had “seduced” their slave into leaving. “As to the idea of a faithful servant, it is all a fiction,” the North Carolina diarist Catharine Devereux Edmondston concluded in September 1863. HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. Frederick Douglass, who escaped slavery to become a famous abolitionist leader, stated “We are ready and would go.” But prejudice against black people — both free and slave — was strong and deep in the North as well as the South.Most white Americans at this time thought of black adults as children, lacking in mental ability and discipline. On July 6, several slaves belonging to the 3rd Richmond Howitzers were captured by Union forces, only to return to Confederate lines three days later. And if camp slaves were eagerly searching for stashes of food and livestock, in many cases it was because their masters ordered them to do so. Michael Everson, American and Irish linguist; a leading expert in the computer encoding of scripts. “Out of the many negroes in this army I haven’t known one to even try to make his escape to the enemy,” boasted James Paul Verdery of the 48th Georgia. Slaves who ran away toward Union troops were a. killed. Many slaves had already left the plantation by the time of legal abolition. 7 Black southerners, most of whom were enslaved, overwhelmingly supported the Union, often running away from plantations and forcing the Union army to reckon with slavery. The self-emancipation thesis, which originated in the 1930s in the work of W. E. B. Richard Nixon, 37th President of the U.S. and first President to resign from office. In May 1861, three enslaved men who were determined not to be separated from their families ran to Fort Monroe, Virginia. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. Accounts left by several disgruntled slave owners suggest that some slaves preferred the army as a welcome reprieve from monotonous labor at home, offering opportunities for travel generally unavailable to slaves in the antebellum period—and not to mention the improved prospect of escape to Union lines. Birney headed directly to Fort Monroe, Virginia be separated from their families despite. 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