Monthly Archives: May 2011

On Hiatus

Civil War Emancipation¬†will be on hiatus from May 31-June 9 while I’m off fulfilling an annual professional engagement that combined with my regular work will keep me exceedingly busy. The blog will resume on June 10, 2011. Good luck and … Continue reading

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Birth of a Policy

On May 30, 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron wrote General Benjamin Butler at Fortress Monroe to inform him officially of the cabinet’s approval of his decision not to return the slaves of disloyal Virginia slaveholders and declare them contraband … Continue reading

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Actors in Emancipation: Lincoln, the Union Army, and the Slaves

It is too bad for General Benjamin Butler that neither email nor social networks existed in May 1861. Although the telegraph brought instantaneous communications to the United States and revolutionized the conduct of the Civil War (explaining why Lincoln often … Continue reading

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The Chicago Tribune Backs Ben Butler

News of the events at Fortress Monroe in late May 1861 quickly spread around the United States, leaving the press to react to what had occurred there. Press opinion would be critical to decide whether the Lincoln administration would back … Continue reading

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The Contraband Flood Begins

When General Benjamin Butler decided to give sanctuary to three fugitive slaves in late May 1861, in essence he removed the finger from the proverbial dike. Federal policy had since the origin of the republic treated slaves as property and … Continue reading

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George McClellan and Slavery

On May 26, 1861, General George McClellan, then commander of the Department of the Ohio, ordered federal forces into western Virginia to secure the Unionist region, as the rest of the state had now seceded. The step was urgently necessary … Continue reading

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Contraband of War – Opening the Flood Gates

General Benjamin Butler took command at Fortress Monroe in Virginia on May 22, 1861. No doubt upon his arrival Butler believed his biggest problem would be the Virginia forces building fortifications across Hampton Roads. The state’s voters ratified secession on … Continue reading

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