mislabeling homeless black refugees in the South as “loyal,”
Northerners saw them as easily-acquired and underpaid mercenaries who
would help them subjugate the American South. Most of them were not so
easily mislead, knew what their new friends had in mind, and simply
wanted to go home to be left alone.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Slaves Freeing Themselves from Freedom
Hilton Head, in March 1862, it was proposed to organize out of certain
loyal blacks, within easy reach, a patriotic Negro brigade. But this
reinforcement so little appreciated the intended honor that the
vigilance of a strong picket of white soldiers was necessary to prevent
the escape of the slave to his master.
their Enfield rifles and other military equipments, one-third of the
nucleus did, in fact, decamp. [Northern] General [David] Hunter’s force
succeeded in recovering at least five of these refugees from freedom.
“Taken when fleeing toward the mainland, occupied by rebels, they were
placed in irons and confined at the Rip Raps [along the shore]”
from freedom, encountering every peril to escape therefrom, by some
fugitive freedom laws are pursued, overtaken, loaded with irons and
threatened with worse if they make further efforts to free themselves
from freedom. It may be, in cold iron outline, is imaged something of
deeper import – “the name of freedom graven on a heavier chain.”
(Leigh Robinson’s Address, 18 December, 1909, Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 36, 1908, pg. 320)