Contraband or Fugitive Slaves, Cumberland County, Virginia, 1862

Description

Fugitive slaves from the South who escaped to Union lines were called contraband, that is, confiscated enemy property. They were held in camps while the military authorities decided how to maintain and employ them. The people in this photograph, taken at Foller's house in Cumberland Landing (Central Virginia), would have posed a particular dilemma for the authorities because they were largely women and children and could not be used, as were able-bodied males, for hard military labor or soldiering. By 1862, when this photograph was taken, women and children would be moved to contraband camps, meaning confiscated southern plantations, which were used to grow food for the Union army. (Thanks to William Freehling for his assistance in interpreting this photograph.)

Source

Stereograph by James Gibson (b. 1828) in Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (LC-B8171-0383).

Creator

Gibson, James

Language

English

Rights

Image is in the public domain. Metadata is available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.

Identifier

LOC-Cumb

Spatial Coverage

North America--Virginia

Citation

"Contraband or Fugitive Slaves, Cumberland County, Virginia, 1862", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed June 2, 2020, http://www.slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/796
Fugitive slaves from the South who escaped to Union lines were called contraband, that is, confiscated enemy property. They were held in camps while the military authorities decided how to maintain and employ them. The people in this photograph, taken at Foller's house in Cumberland Landing (Central Virginia), would have posed a particular dilemma for the authorities because they were largely women and children and could not be used, as were able-bodied males, for hard military labor or soldiering. By 1862, when this photograph was taken, women and children would be moved to contraband camps, meaning confiscated southern plantations, which were used to grow food for the Union army. (Thanks to William Freehling for his assistance in interpreting this photograph.)
IIIF Manifest Download