Monthly Archives: November 2011

Lincoln’s Delaware Emancipation Bill

Up to late November 1861, Abraham Lincoln carefully avoided any policy in regard to slavery that would bring freedom to the slaves, in whole or in part. Even his support of Gen. Benjamin Butler’s contraband-of-war policy and the Confiscation Act … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“What shall be done with the Slaves?”

As fall turned to winter in 1861, it became clear to some Americans that emancipation, widely dismissed at the Civil War’s start, was becoming a real possibly. As Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune perceptively and presciently put it in their issue … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Battling Black Confederate Spies

When John C. Frémont was replaced as commanding general of the U.S. Army’s Department of the West, his position soon passed to Maj. Gen. Henry Wager Halleck. Henry Halleck was a mediocre tactician, but a crafty and devious administrator. Halleck showed the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Fear That Preserved Slavery

My day job (in reality, day, evening, night–just about any time) is college professor. One of the issues I always try to cover in relevant classes is American slavery, including the factors that kept it alive and vital in the United … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Live from Port Royal

Sometimes when I don’t have anything better to do (which isn’t very often), I wonder what the American Civil War might have been like in the era of 24-hour cable news. (No doubt Fox News would have had pro-Confederate coverage, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Disunion: Was Freedom Enough?

Friday’s Disunion in the New York Times has a thoughtful piece co-written by Gregory P. Downs and James Downs. They ask a simple but powerful question: “Was freedom enough?” That is, was freedom for the slaves meaningful, if it resulted in a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The First Exodusters

The term exoduster generally refers to the thousands of African Americans that left the South for Kansas after the end of Reconstruction in 1877, rather than live under repressive white supremacist state governments. Yet theirs was not the first noteworthy black … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Liberation of Port Royal

November 7, 1861, was a momentous day in the history of emancipation during the American Civil War. On that day, a combined Union naval and army amphibious force captured Port Royal, South Carolina. Roughly halfway between Charleston, South Carolina, and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Contraband Flood Spreads

What started as an isolated occurrences in Spring 1861, by Fall 1861 became more widespread. The phenomena in question was slaves seeking sanctuary with the Union army. It had begun in March that year with a few bold slaves making … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

A Long Overdue Honor

As reported by Adam Goodheart in the most recent Disunion blog at the New York Times, yesterday, November 1, 2011, President Barack Obama designated Fortress Monroe as a national monument. This designation, which places the fort under the control of the National … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment