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[166] of the fact that the border States were in their majority loyal to the Union. As many of the friends of the Union in those States had slaves, it was indeed difficult to deal with the question of servitude. Public opinion, it is true, was changing from day to day, but the friends of freedom were obliged to wait yet many days to realize much of what they had been so long hoping, praying, and strivingfor.

On this occasion, commanding an outpost, I found myself under most stringent orders not to harbor any slave property. In face of this actuality I was greatly puzzled with the case before me. The white woman, seeing my embarrassment, became more and more excited, and soon began to use abusive language, directed partially to me, but mainly to her slave.

The woman kept pressing her child to her breast and with her large eyes filled with tears continued to look toward me, repeating: “Oh my child, my child”

At last, of course, I was obliged to decide the case. So turning to the impatient white woman, I said:

There's your property, take it l

She promptly answered: “But I can't take it. She's stronger than I! You must give me a guard.”

My heart rebelled against using military force for such a purpose, and so I answered:

No, no, I will not give you a guard. I will never use bayonets to drive a poor girl and child into bondage.

I had reluctantly complied with the letter of the law and fancied that to be enough. Somehow that night, without my knowledge, the slave woman and her child found their way eastward to Alexandria and thence to Washington-thus she and her child became free. Two citizens from Maine, who were unqualified

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Maine (Maine, United States) (1)

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