January 5, 1865: Foolish slaves, running off

Runaway Slaves

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 for freedom.

The “Fool Nigger” and their friends.

–During the recent raid on this place many negroes, heretofore considered faithful servants — men, women and children — accompanied the Yankees on their return. In great glee they mounted the stolen horses and mules of their owners, and, loaded with plunder, took their departure for the land of Abe Lincoln’s rule. The vision of the soft rolling carriage, fine dress, luxuriant eating, freedom and equality with their liberators, received the first rude shock but a few miles from town, when they were compelled to dismount and trudge through the mud. Fatigued, hungry and cold, they strived might and main to keep up with the apostles of liberty — fear of recapture by indignant masters stimulating their fast-fading dream of ease and idleness. The weather became bitter cold, and the negroes suffered terribly. The first to succumb were their children, being deserted by their brutish mothers to perish on the wayside. We hear of one woman who, tired of her burden, threw her infant, not a month old, in the wayside thicket and left it.–We are informed that twenty-two of these Abe Lincoln milestones have been found frozen to death on the roads traveled by the Yankees on their return — mostly children.

— Brookhaven (Mississippi) Telegraph.

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