Slaves Crossing through Union Lines

Port

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
2,077
portland maine
#1
I have often wondered what was it like for both the slaves and Union soldiers when 100,000 slaves crossed over into the Union Army.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,831
Dispargum
#2
Most Union soldiers had never seen a black person before or had seen only a few. There are many documented instances of culture clash. Most blacks were illiterate and left few records, but whites often commented on the strange behavior of blacks. One that I remember off the top of my head was the tendency of blacks to carry their beds with them (usually a rolled up mattress). These were runaway slaves who in many ways resembled refugees in that they carried their most valuable possessions with them. Slaves had so little they could call their own. It never occurred to most whites that a person's most valuable possession might be their bed.
 

Port

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
2,077
portland maine
#3
Most Union soldiers had never seen a black person before or had seen only a few. There are many documented instances of culture clash. Most blacks were illiterate and left few records, but whites often commented on the strange behavior of blacks. One that I remember off the top of my head was the tendency of blacks to carry their beds with them (usually a rolled up mattress). These were runaway slaves who in many ways resembled refugees in that they carried their most valuable possessions with them. Slaves had so little they could call their own. It never occurred to most whites that a person's most valuable possession might be their bed.
Thanks you, you wrote "runaway slaves in many ways resembled refugees" This alone sounds so different then the use of the word "contraband"
 
May 2017
48
florida
#4
During Sherman's March to Savannah thousands of " contraband " followed his army . The army fed them when the army had enough to go around . The closer they got to the coast the scarcer food got and slaves foraged for themselves . Some contraband's found employment with the army as grooms for horses , cooks and of course some of the ladies provided services to the soldiers . Up on arrival in Savannah many of the contraband were absorbed in the slave and free black communities . Soon some were offered 40 acres and a mule by the occupying government .
I believe that it was a lot more than 100,000 that the union assumed responsibility for . Many joined Union Forces as soldiers or served in auxiliary services .
 

Port

Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
2,077
portland maine
#5
I was thinking about all the logistical challenges, the conflict between military versus freed needs as well as was there a way to use this movement of refuges in a strategic manner?
 

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