Category Archives: Contrabands

January 12, 1865: Sherman on “Sambo”

As we’ve seen, Halleck wrote to Sherman to caution him about public perceptions of his attitude toward blacks. Here Sherman replies that it was Jeff C. Davis who turned the ex-slaves back at Ebenezer Creek, and he just needed his … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Henry Halleck, Jefferson C. Davis, Racism, Sherman's March, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

January 12, 1865: Freemen in Savannah

Secretary of War Stanton came down to Savannah, and he met with a group of black leaders to discuss with them what they wanted for their people. He took the opportunity to ask them how Sherman had treated them, as … Continue reading

Posted in Black Confederates, Contrabands, Edwin M. Stanton, Georgia, Racism, Sherman's March, Slavery, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

January 5, 1865: Foolish slaves, running off

The Richmond Daily Dispatch reprints an article from Mississippi depicting the terrible disillusionment of the freed slaves. The article seems to be about half hearsay and half imagining the mental state of people who were willing to risk any hardship … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Runaways, Slavery | Leave a comment

December 31, 1864: Black troops will garrison Savannah

Halleck has already urged Sherman to make a gesture toward the well-being of escaped slaves to improve his PR with northern abolitionists. Now a related dispute arises; Halleck wants able-bodied former slaves who followed Sherman to continue to serve as … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Georgia, Henry Halleck, John G. Foster, Savannah, Sherman's March, U.S. Colored Troops, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

December 30, 1864: Sherman and the “negroes”

News of the incident at Ebenezer Creek, where Jeff C. Davis took up the pontoon bridge, abandoning hundreds of escaped slaves to recapture by Wheeler’s cavalry or drowning, has reached the north. Sherman is under considerable criticism from abolitionists in … Continue reading

Posted in Abolitionism, Contrabands, Georgia, Henry Halleck, Savannah, Sherman's March, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment

April 11, 1863: Encourage blacks to come in the Union lines

Grant orders Gen. Steele to stay in Greenville, 80 miles north of Vicksburg and just disrupt things for the rebels. Especially to collect all the slaves in the area who want to become free. Official Records: MILLIKEN’S BEND, La., April … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Frederick Steele, Mississippi, Ulysses S. Grant, Vicksburg | Leave a comment

December 11, 1862: Freed slaves won’t work

The Richmond Daily Dispatch opines that there’s no worry that freed slaves will compete with whites for jobs, because black people won’t work unless forced to. Competition of negro with White labor. In his late miserable Message Lincoln declares that … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Emancipation | Leave a comment

November 16, 1862: What to do with all these contrabands?

As Grant moves south from Memphis, he finds that he’s got more freed slaves than he knows what to do with. Halleck tells him to put them to work for the Union, and take food for them from the rebels. … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Cotton, Henry Halleck, Ulysses S. Grant | Leave a comment

November 14, 1862: Contrabands were better off slaves?

The Richmond Daily Dispatch indulges in a little schadenfreude over the condition of the poor contrabands, who of course were better off as slaves. The correspondent in Cairo seems to find it perverse that the freedmen he talks to don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Abolitionism, Contrabands, Illinois, Slavery | Leave a comment

July 19, 1862: Sherman says infantry don’t get horses. Or servants.

Sherman was coming into contact with a phenomenon that would become familiar later in the war. His troops, passing through enemy territory, were acquiring their own transportation in the form of stolen horses and mules. Here he orders contraband steeds … Continue reading

Posted in Contrabands, Tennessee, William Tecumseh Sherman | Leave a comment