Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans and the Union Navy

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University Press of Kentucky, Oct 9, 2009 - History - 400 pages
One of the lesser known stories of the Civil War is the role played by escaped slaves in the Union blockade along the Atlantic coast. From the beginning of the war, many African American refugees sought avenues of escape to the North. Due to their sheer numbers, those who reached Union forces presented a problem for the military. The problem was partially resolved by the First Confiscation Act of 1861, which permitted the seizure of property used in support of the SouthÕs war effort, including slaves. Eventually regarded as contraband of war, the runaways became known as contrabands. In Bluejackets and Contrabands, Barbara Brooks Tomblin examines the relationship between the Union Navy and the contrabands. The navy established colonies for the former slaves and, in return, some contrabands served as crewmen on navy ships and gunboats and as river pilots, spies, and guides. Tomblin presents a rare picture of the contrabands and casts light on the vital contributions of African Americans to the Union Navy and the Union cause.
 

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Contents

6 Contraband Pilots
169
Photo insert
185
7 Contraband Sailors
205
8 Joint ArmyNavy Operations
29
Map
32
9 The Final Months
49
Notes
81
Select Bibliography
135

Map
111
5 Contributing to Victory
133

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About the author (2009)

Barbara Brooks Tomblin is the author of With Utmost Spirit: Allied Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, 1942-1945.

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