Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > American History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

American History American History Forum - United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old August 18th, 2013, 10:00 AM   #31

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTWuest
Axel,

Sorry it took me a few days to reply, but I think your post is excellent! I would like to add a couple of comments.

First, thanks for sharing the story of Robert Smalls, he indeed sounds like quite a hero. He actually reminds me of someone who did similar things in Savannah, GA named March Haynes. Haynes was an ex-slave who ferried hundreds of slaves to Fort Pulaski which was captured by Union forces (I believe in 1862). Fort Pulaski is within earshot of downtown Savannah, and was very compelling to slaves in Savannah seeking freedom since they could sometimes hear ex-slaves at Pulaski singing on occasionally.

Further, I think Smalls and Haynes give us insight into a couple of big problems the Confederacy was unable to deal with. First, that both of these men were so successful shows the inability of Confederates to control their own waterways. Second, these men also show that African Americans were far from bystanders in the Civil War. These are not people who sat and waited to be freed by Union soldiers. Rather, they used their agency to force their freedom and literally drained much needed labor from the South.

The ACW began as a fight over the future of the nation - would the West be settled by free men or slaves? African Americans obviously had a big stake in that, and their actions played a big role in the eventual defeat of the Confederacy.
JT,

Very interesting comments. Thank you for the information on March Haynes. I agree with your comments that Haynes and Smalls were examples of extraordinary heroism, intelligience and achievement by former slaves to aid the cause of the Union. However, they were not alone, many African American were not passive as this struggle enfolded and by the vast increase in runaways and secapees to the Union lines they did much to alter the struggle and by their actions make this struggle not just over the issue of union but of the future of slavery in the US.

Because of the actions of so many slaves freeing the South, the Union Army and then the Congress had to deal with the issue of "contrabands" - that did much to force the issue on Lincoln.

I further believe that as Lincoln personally met men like Robert Smalls and saw their devotion to this country, Lincoln's views evolved. He also saw through men like Samlls the potential contribution that African Americans might make as soldiers and sailors of the Union.

Lincoln has always been a believer in colonization, that freed slaves could not continue to live in the US. In 1861 and 1862, he had also tried to in vain to interest the border states in compensated emancipation. In 1862 those beliefs changed so that in September 1862 he was willing to issue the preliminary emancipation procolamation, that slaves in areas of rebellion would be freed without emancipation or colonization for those states that remained in rebellion.
Axel is offline  
Remove Ads
Old August 18th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #32

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Here is a link to information on a meeting Lincoln had in the white hours on August 14, 1862 with five leading African American citizens (clergymen), where he tried in vain to interest them in a plan of colonization. Disunion on Lincoln?s Meeting With Black Clergy | Civil War Emancipation

This link tells of Lincoln's effort to obtain gradual compensation with the border states beginning with Delaware which also went no-where in 1862
Lincoln's Constitutional Dilemma: Emancipation and Black Suffrage
Axel is offline  
Old September 2nd, 2013, 07:21 AM   #33

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by PM96
Mr. Smalls sounds like a brave and clever man, his fellow slaves must think of him as a hero.
Robert Smalls was indeed a brave man. I believe he risked death for himself and his crew if they were caught in their act of trying to spirit the heavily armed Planter out of Charleston Harbor to the Union forces.

That fateful night in 1862, when they took the Planter from the dock, the crew first went to a pre-arranged rendez vous point ot pick up their slave families, including Robert Small wife and children.

At that rendez vous point the slave crew also let off several who did not want to risk the voyage. They were all very brave people. Yet, that's how strong was their yearning to be free.
Axel is offline  
Old September 2nd, 2013, 07:54 AM   #34
Archivist
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: Connecticut
Posts: 241

I'm very interested in the naval aspects of the Civil War. When I came across Smalls' story, I swear it should be researched more and made into an action movie!
Talbot Vilna is offline  
Old September 4th, 2013, 01:08 AM   #35
Academician
 
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 97

A fellow named Donald Sobol wrote a book Two Flags Flying which was published in 1960. Primarily for the adolescent audience it consisted of short biographies, about two pages each, of various personages involved in the war, some well known, others, not so; about 25 for the Union side & 25 for the Confederates. I got my copy at Christmas of that year, I was eight at the time. I still have it, though it is up in the attic someplace, I never throw away a history book. Since I nowadays keep running inventory & this book appears in that list, I know I've put my hands on it sometime in the last five years or so.

Anyway, as I recall, Robert Smalls and the story of his absconding with the Planter is one of the vignettes Sobol provides.
R Leonard is offline  
Old September 12th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #36

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot Vilna
I'm very interested in the naval aspects of the Civil War. When I came across Smalls' story, I swear it should be researched more and made into an action movie!
I fully agree. this is a great uplifting tail our courage and the risks men would take to be free. I would think Steven Spielberg or Disney Studios would pick this up and do the move.
Axel is offline  
Old October 28th, 2013, 03:35 PM   #37

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

I was just reading further in the Robert Smalls biography, Yearning to Breathe Free Yearning to Breathe Free: Robert Smalls of South Carolina and His Families - Andrew Billingsley - Google Books

After his daring escape to freedom in May 1862, Smalls undertook different missions for the Union cause, until finally about August 16, 1862, Smalls was sent by General David Hunter to Washington. Hunter had wished to recruit in South Carolina former slaves for the Union cause but in 1862, Lincoln had overruled Hunter called a halt to such actions. Hunter sent Smalls in the hope he could get Lincoln to reverse course.

In Washington, Smalls met first with Secretary of War Stanton, then Secretary of Treasury Chase and then President Lincoln. in each instance he retold the story of the daring escape of the Planter and its valuable munitions through the confederate checkpoints of Charleston Harbor to deliver this prize of war to the Union cause.

After telling his story to Lincoln, on August 25, 1862, Smalls was dispatched to SC with order from President Lincoln to allow the recruitment of African Americans for the Union cause, the first such authorization by Lincoln, still a month before the issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862.
Axel is offline  
Old October 29th, 2013, 10:14 AM   #38

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Click the image to open in full size.

Robert Smalls is featured in the new PBS Series, "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross", by Robert Louis Gates, Jr., which airs on PBS in the USA, October 22 to November 26.

Smalls is featured in the preview video of the series. Video | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross | PBS

Click the image to open in full size.

His biography by Gates also appears on the site website, Robert Smalls, from Escaped Slave to House of Representatives | African American History Blog | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

The first two segments are now up at the website. I believe Smalls will appear in the 3rd segment.
Axel is offline  
Old October 30th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #39

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Here's another link to the series trailer, which features Robert Smalls so prominently
Video: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross - Trailer | Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross Online | PBS Video

I've now seen the first two episodes which take us from 1500 to 1860 in the African American experience. Next Tuesday night, PBS will air nationally the episode on the Civil War and Reconstruction, where I expect the Robert Smalls will be told on TV.

Click the image to open in full size.
Axel is offline  
Old November 6th, 2013, 04:50 AM   #40

Axel's Avatar
Lecturer
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 310
Blog Entries: 6

Click the image to open in full size.

The third segment of "Many Rivers to Cross: 500 Years of African American History" aired last night on PBS.

That 3rd segment called "Into the Fire" covers the years 1861 to 1896.

I couldn't see it but watched the video this morning. the first 23 minutes cover 1861-1865 the civil War. Near the outset of the segment is the story of Robert Smalls escape on the Planter. It lasts 3-4 minutes. The author and narrator, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. calls the story of Robert Smalls one of his favorites.

I will watch the conclusion on Reconstruction and its aftermath 1865-1896 at lunch.

Here is a link to those of you who would also like to view this segment video. Well worth watching!!

Video: Into the Fire (1861-1896) | Watch The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross Online | PBS Video
Axel is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > American History

Tags
civil war, reconstruction, robert, sailor, slave, smalls, statesman, thief”, “boat, “boat-thief”


Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What does the ear of a thief have to do with the history of Georgia? JTWuest American History 0 April 20th, 2013 04:30 PM
A sailor's reflections diddyriddick War and Military History 0 October 26th, 2011 05:08 AM
Asterix the Gaul vs Popeye the Sailor Nick Speculative History 21 May 22nd, 2010 11:50 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.