By Barbara Brooks Tomblin
One of many lesser recognized tales of the Civil battle is the position performed through escaped slaves within the Union blockade alongside the Atlantic coast. From the start of the battle, many African American refugees sought avenues of break out to the North. because of their sheer numbers, those that reached Union forces awarded an issue for the army. the matter used to be partly resolved via the 1st Confiscation Act of 1861, which accepted the seizure of estate utilized in aid of the South's battle attempt, together with slaves. ultimately considered as contraband of conflict, the runaways turned referred to as contrabands. In Bluejackets and Contrabands, Barbara Brooks Tomblin examines the connection among the Union military and the contrabands. The army verified colonies for the previous slaves and, in go back, a few contrabands served as crewmen on army ships and gunboats and as river pilots, spies, and courses. Tomblin provides an extraordinary photograph of the contrabands and casts mild at the important contributions of African americans to the Union army and the Union reason.
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Extra resources for Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans and the Union Navy
Union commanders soon recognized the difficulty of patrolling the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay with just five vessels, so 32 Bluejackets and Contrabands on April 27, 1861, Welles decided to create a small naval force, or “flying flotilla,” to patrol the river. To command this new flotilla he chose Commander James H. Ward, a career naval officer and veteran of the Mexican War who had planned the relief of Fort Sumter. Ward selected the side-wheeler Thomas Freeborn and the small screw steamers Resolute and Reliance for duty in the Potomac and Chesapeake, and by midMay his “Potomac Flotilla” had assembled at the New York Navy Yard.
It happened that Joe was the son of Mr. Felton, and his mother was one of Col. Felton’s slaves. But the tables had turned, Joe remained on the vessel a free man, and Felton was a prisoner of war,” Parker added. ”21 During the Civil War, Union Navy vessels encountered many individuals or small parties of runaway slaves, but the vast majority of slaves liberated along the southern coast were freed as a result of Union military operations and expeditions. One of the earliest and most dramatic instances came in November 1861, when Union forces commanded by Du Pont and General Thomas W.
We gwine to freedom,” many cried. Union Navy commanders did not always share the slaves’ concept of “freedom,” however. In his diary entry for April 25, 1863, Dr. Samuel Boyer of the bark Fernandina wrote, “Today 4 intelligent contrabands made their appearance in a dugout, having come all the way from the vicinity of Savannah having traveled ever since Sunday last, and doing without anything to eat since last Tuesday. They were dressed in rags. All appear to have one idea, and that is to be ‘free’ .
Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans and the Union Navy by Barbara Brooks Tomblin