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 abolitionists, were that same day with me for a short time. They condemned my apparent hesitancy in strong terms. “You should pay no attention whatever to such uncalled — for orders,” they said. After that I was hopeful that I should have no more slave cases to deal with. But soon after this, there was led in a large, dark fellow, with the thickest of lips and the broadest of noses, whose utterance was hard for one uninitiated to understand. “How did you get past the picket?” I asked. “I thorounded um, thir.” He, too, found the Potomac and freedom. A man who could surround a picket was smart enough to reach and pass Mason and Dixon's line. There were other commanders on our front lines in the East and the West who more fully carried out their instructions; so that, for a time, hundreds of escaping slaves who had come in, full of the hope of freedom, were caught as in a net and given up to men and women who visited the camps and laid claim to them; such visitors were permitted to carry their servants back to bondage, and sometimes soldiers were sent to escort the fugitives on their return. All the armies of the Union were then in a great ferment on this subject. General H. W. Halleck, in the West, prohibited the slaves from “entering the lines of any camp or any column on the march.” General Thomas Williams in the far South at Baton Rouge gave equally decisive instructions; but on the other hand General John C. Fremont, in Missouri, August 31, 1861, attempted by public orders to confiscate the property of all citizens in rebellion and establish the freedom of their slaves. As this action was in advance of President and
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