Category Archives: Uncategorized

Signs of the Times

Harper’s Weekly, 21 February 1862. Source: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/february/freed-negroes.htm While slavery was far from dead in the United States in early 1863, the signs increasingly were not good for its long-term survival. The first piece of evidence was an illustration (above) and accompanying … Continue reading

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Freedom Comes to Key West

[Please note: an incomplete version of this edition of Civil War Emancipation went out earlier by accident--my apologies.] It is normal these days to think of Key West, Florida, as simply an attractive vacation destination. As Florida’s southern-most community, surrounded by … Continue reading

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Reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation

While public opinion, North and South, had considerable time between late September 1862 and the end of the year to adjust to the idea that Abraham Lincoln meant to free most slaves in the United States by proclamation at the … Continue reading

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Images of Slaves Reaching Freedom

Source: Harper’s Weekly, 31 January 1863 Once the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect in January 1863, slaves escaping to Union lines were no longer in limbo, but effectively free. They might still be called “contraband” but the word no longer … Continue reading

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Thomas Nast Envisions Emancipation

Thomas Nast, “The Emancipation of the Negroes, January, 1863 – The Past and The Future,” Harper’s Weekly, 24 January 1863. The second anniversary of this blog on January 21 passed without me realizing it until yesterday. For two years, I have … Continue reading

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Giving Massa Notice

“Giving Massa Notice,” Harper’s Weekly, 10 January 1863. Source: http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/january/slave-cartoon.htm The cartoon is captioned: POMPEY. “What day ob de month id dis, Massa?” MASTER. “Twenty-sixth December. Why?” POMPEY. “Oh! cause you knows Massa LINKUM he gib us our Papers on de First January, God bless um; and … Continue reading

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Missionaries of Freedom

Some of the best material on emancipation in the Civil War is easily accessible due to the hard work of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project (FSSP) at the University of Maryland, founded by my mentor, Ira Berlin, and headed … Continue reading

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Happy New Year!

Happy 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation! “Like all great historical transformations, emancipation was a process, not a single event. It arose from many causes and was the work of many individuals. It began at the outset … Continue reading

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What Mattered More?

“Watch Night Meeting”: Slaves await midnight on December 31, 1862; Source: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/odyssey/archive/04/0421001r.jpg As 1862 drew to a close, as far as emancipation was concerned the nation’s attention was riveted on whether President Abraham Lincoln would finalize the Emancipation Proclamation. They had … Continue reading

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Jefferson Davis’ Infamous Proclamation

By late 1862, the recruitment of African Americans as soldiers in the Union Army was well under way with thousands of black men already under arms and many thousands more that would soon be recruited. Although they would face discrimination–unequal … Continue reading

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