The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
Baptist, Edward E.
From 1861-65 hundreds of thousands of southern slaves escaped to the North, searching for Union lines and then throwing themselves on the mercy of the Union Army. The army generally protected them. “Eventually the Union Army began to welcome formerly enslaved men into its ranks, turning refugee camps into recruiting stations—and those African American soldiers would make the difference between victory and defeat for the North, which by late 1863 was exhausted and uncertain.” Once, in 1863, a slaver by the name of Charles Mallory showed up at Fortress Monroe to demand return of escaped slaves. The Union army leaders knew the South had used these slaves in the war effort to build berms sheltering the Rebels’ cannon. The Fortress’ commanding officer refused to release the slaves, claiming that “if the slaves were Mallory’s property, and he was using them to wage war against the US government, then the men were logically contraband of war!”