After reading the passages and information listed in this site,
write short essay answers for each of these questions:
1. What Happened to Slaves Escaping the Southern Slave Owners after
the Emancipation Proclamation?
2. Questions to answer: Were they fully free or were they still
considered property owned by southern men?
3. How was General Buchanon involved in the Contraband? Why was
Fort Monroe a major part of black history during the Contraband
4. How did General Sherman accept black escaped and freed slaves?
What happened on his trip to Savannah? What did he do for freed
slaves after he took Savannah?
5. What did President Lincoln do about the thousands of slaves
escaping into the North?
INTRODUCTION TO INFORMATION AND SITES
ABOUT CONTRABANDS IN THE CIVIL WAR
Information from the Library of Congress at
Some sought to return the slaves to their owners, but others kept
the blacks within their lines and dubbed them "contraband of war."
Many "contrabands" greatly aided the war effort with their labor.
More information from Wikipedia at
Abraham Lincoln's election led to secession and secession to war.
When the Union soldiers entered the South, thousands of African
Americans fled from their owners to Union camps. The Union officers
did not immediately receive an official order on how to manage this
addition to their numbers. Some sought to return the slaves to their
owners, but others kept the blacks within their lines and dubbed
them "contraband of war." Many "contrabands" greatly aided the war
effort with their labor.
After Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which was effective on
January 1, 1863, black soldiers were officially allowed to
participate in the war. The Library of Congress holds histories and
pictures of most of the regiments of the United States Colored
Troops as well as manuscript and published accounts by African
American soldiers and their white officers, documenting their
participation in the successful Union effort. Both blacks and whites
were outspoken about questions of race, civil rights, and full
equality for the newly-freed population during the Civil War era.
Emancipated blacks were forced to begin their trek to full equality
without the aid of "forty acres and a mule," which many believed had
been promised to them. The Library's collection records the new
steps towards freedom on the part of the African American community,
especially in the areas of employment, education, and politics.
There is also an abundance of books, photographs, diaries, and
manuscripts about many aspects of slave life and culture, such as
the development of the "Negro Spiritual" and the role played by the
United States Colored Troops in the South and the West.
PART TWO-- VIEW
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS IMAGES
Map of Fort Monroe by
Robert Knox Sneden, 1862 from Wikipedia
PART THREE-- HOW WAS THE PROCESS OF MILITARY CONTRABAND STARTED?
Bridge to Ft. Monroe Entrance LOC
General Benjamin Butler from Wikipedia
Contraband Rude Cartoon from Wikipedia
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Civil War
Through the Camera, by Henry W. (Henry William)
The status of southern-owned slaves after
Confederate states had
engaged in the American Civil War became an issue early in
1861, not long after hostilities began. At
Fort Monroe in
commander, learned that three slaves had made their way
across Hampton Roads harbor from Confederate-occupied
Norfolk County, and
presented themselves at Union-held Fort Monroe. General
Butler refused to return the escaped slaves to slaveholders
who supported the Confederacy. This amounted to classifying
them as "contraband," although the first use of that
terminology in military records appears to have been by
Slaves escape to the fort after
Gen. Butler's decree that all slaves behind Union lines
would be protected. The policy was called the
"Fort Monroe Doctrine", alluding to Butler's
headquarters at the Fort.
On May 27, 1861, Major General
Butler made his famous "contraband"
decision, or "Fort Monroe Doctrine", determining that
escaping male slaves who reached Union lines would be
considered contraband and not be returned to bondage. The
order resulted in thousands of slaves fleeing to Union lines
around Fort Monroe, which was Butler's headquarters in
Virginia. Fort Monroe became called "Freedom's Fortress", as
any slave reaching it would be free. By the fall, the Army
had built the
Contraband Camp to try to house the families. It
was the first of more than 100 that would be established by
war's end, and the
Island Freedmen's Colony (1863–1867), which
started as a contraband camp.
Peake was teaching the children of freedmen to
read and write near Fort Monroe. She was the first black
teacher hired by the
Missionary Association (AMA), a Northern
missionary group led by black and white ministers from the
denominations, who strongly supported education of freedmen.
Soon she was teaching children during the day and adults at
night. The AMA sponsored hundreds of Northern teachers and
hired other local teachers in the South; it founded more
than 500 local schools and 11 colleges for freedmen and
[Click Here for
more about Contraband Camps]
Contraband camps developed around many Union-held
forts and encampments. In 1863, after the
Emancipation Proclamation and authorization of
black military units, thousands of former slaves and free
blacks began to enlist in the
States Colored Troops. The Army allowed their
families to take refuge at contraband camps. The black
troops ultimately comprised nearly 10 percent of all the
troops in the Union Army.
By the end of the war, more than 100 contraband
camps had been developed in the South. Many were assisted by
teachers recruited from the North by the
Missionary Association and other groups who,
together with free blacks and freedmen, agreed that
education of the former slaves was of the highest priority.
The teachers often wrote about the desire of former slaves,
both adults and children, for education.
Contraband Relief Society--
Read Mary Todd Lincoln Writes to Elizabeth
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