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To arrive at a clearer view of the actual condition of Southern neighborhoods, hamlets, villages, and cities during and at the close of our internecine strife, here follow a few brief sketches of these indigent classes as they came under my own observation during and after the war.

As early as 1861 there were several significant illustrations of the approaching problems. For example, after the first battle of Bull Run my headquarters and staff belongings as a brigade commander were at a farmhouse, three miles westward from Alexandria, Va. One day a woman, tall, straight, healthful, and active presented herself at the picket guard bearing on her arm a lad of some two years. The child had a darker hue than the mother, and his kinky hair, cut short, enveloped his round head with its woolly dress. This woman and child were brought to me by the officer of the outpost. Seeing that the woman was terrified, I endeavored to reassure her of her safety.

“What do you wish” I asked.

“Sir, I'm a slave woman, and this here's my child. Let me and my child go free!”

While I was listening to the woman's plaint and entreaty, a sallow-complexioned, poorly clad white woman of middle age was ushered in. Addressing me in a shrill voice she said at once:

That there woman is my slave. I have always treated her well, and here she is. She has run off. Now, sir, you must send her back to me, for she is mine. She and the boy, they're my property.

It will be remembered that at first the Government proposed to itself to overcome the armies in rebellion, and save the Union as it was, without touching slavery at all. This course appeared to be necessary, in view

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Alexandria (Virginia, United States) (1)

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