Chapter

Going to Freedom

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/9780813125541.003.0003
Going to Freedom

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Enforcing the blockade and keeping the Potomac open for traffic to and from Washington kept the Potomac Flotilla busy, stopping or intercepting suspicious vessels and carefully watching for any signs of enemy activity on the shore. Their presence also began to attract runaways: slaves, free blacks, and white deserters. The reaction of Union Navy commanders to these runaways varied, in some cases depending on whether the runaways were white or black. Whether by swimming, sailing, or rowing in small boats, refugees both white and black continued to make their way out to Union gunboats throughout the first summer of the war. When three slaves—James Minor, George Washington, and Samuel Bunn—made it from the Virginia shore to the USS Union in a small boat on September 9, 1861, Acting Lieutenant P. G. Watmough sent them to the Release.

Keywords: Potomac Flotilla; slaves; free blacks; Union Navy; James Minor; George Washington; Samuel Bunn; USS Union; P. G. Watmough; Release

Chapter.  15075 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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