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On the Edge of FreedomThe Fugitive Slave Issue in South Central Pennsylvania, 1820–1870$
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David G. Smith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823240326

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823240326.001.0001

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Contrabands, “White Victories,” and the Ultimate Slave Hunt

Contrabands, “White Victories,” and the Ultimate Slave Hunt

(p.174) 8 Contrabands, “White Victories,” and the Ultimate Slave Hunt
On the Edge of Freedom

David G. Smith

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines south central Pennsylvania's Civil War. At first, area Democrats hoped for a short war to restore the Union “as it was” – they labeled victories of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson “white victories” because they might enable the war to end without emancipation. The region was invaded three times during the war, most notably during the Gettysburg campaign, when Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia captured hundreds of African Americans in Pennsylvania, both escaped slaves, called contrabands, and free blacks. This activity continued pre-war fugitive slave hunts and similar captures the army had made in the Shenandoah Valley and at Harpers Ferry. Some Pennsylvania free blacks were ultimately held in Southern military prisons. In 1864, Jubal Early's invading forces burned Chambersburg, and a teacher who taught African Americans was killed. Fights over the Emancipation Proclamation, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the 1863 Pennsylvania governor's campaign are also described.

Keywords:   contrabands, Gettysburg, African Americans, emancipation, Chambersburg, Emancipation Proclamation, Jubal Early, Robert E. Lee, Army of Northern Virginia

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