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Centennial Times - June 27, 1862 - Slaves flee South

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


June 27, 1862

Thousands Of Slaves Flee South


It is estimated, states the Herald and Torch, that as many as two thousand fugitive slaves from the Valley of Virginia have crossed the Potomac in the last ten days.

This may be an over-estimate, but that the number has been very large cannot be doubted. A majority of them have gone to Pennsylvania, and the remainder remain encamped in the fields of this county.

Of these there are some who positively assert they will return to their masters as soon as they can do so with safety, and that they only left to escape seizure by the rebels. A few had good clothing and some means, but much the larger number were without either and presented a squalid appearance. The influx of these contrabands verifies to the very letter the prediction of the Unionists that the rebellion inaugurated by the Cotton States would in its natural effects materially injure if not wholly destroy the institution of slavery in the Border States; and yet in the face of this fact — so patent to every observer — we have been impudently told that we ought to have sympathized with and given aid and comfort to those States in their efforts to subvert the Federal Government.

One of our Chambersburg contemporaries — The Times — thus describes the arrivals of the “Contrabands” in that town:

“During the last few days, the roads leading from the Virginia line have been black with ‘contrabands’ making their way north Numbers of them, too, have passed through on the railroad. — They are of all ages, colors and sizes — from the grey-haired slave who has passed his days of usefulness to his master, to the infant in arms — from the ebony-hued to the light olive brown — and are of various degrees of intelligence, many of them quick and knowing, others dull and stupid. Some of them have passed through, but many of them are still quartered among the Negroes of the town — some of the houses being crowded almost to suffocation.”




Used with permission of the Herald-Mail


Collection Location:
Hagerstown, Maryland

Original Size:
59 x 33 cms

Washington County (Md.), history; Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862; Sharpsburg, Battle of, Md., 1862; Centennial celebrations, etc:

Washington County (Md.), 1860-1862

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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