Chapter

Introduction

Barbara Brooks Tomblin

in Bluejackets and Contrabands

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125541
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135311 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125541.003.0001
Introduction

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There has been no full-length treatment of the relationship between the Union Navy and African Americans, especially contrabands, although historians of the Civil War occasionally mention the contribution of free blacks and fugitive slaves to the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons' war effort. This book describes the often mutually beneficial relationship between the officers and men of both blockading squadrons and the men and women they assisted to freedom or gathered into contraband colonies. They left behind few letters and journals describing their journeys to freedom and their wartime experiences because most African American slaves and many free blacks were not permitted by law to learn to read or write. To uncover their contributions to the Potomac Flotilla and to the North and South Atlantic Blockading Squadrons during the war, historians and scholars must rely on official Union Navy and Union Army reports and the letters and diaries of white Americans who lived during that period.

Keywords: Union Navy; African Americans; contrabands; free blacks; fugitive slaves; blockading squadrons; Potomac Flotilla; Union Army

Chapter.  2155 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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