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[173] the escaping slaves. But from the beginning there continued to exist a chaotic condition of society where the masters and their immediate families were escaping in one direction and the great bulk of their slaves in another.

As the war further progressed the number of fugitives continually increased till all the woes of destitution and confusion came on like a great freshet, the springs and rivulets were full and swift, the rivers high and angry with overflows, and the gulfs and bays into which they entered, though more quiet, were deeply moved, casting up mire and dirt from the very bottom. The surging masses of poverty-stricken people flowed into the larger cities, and idleness and viciousness infected them. All the border States were in great trouble because slave property was becoming of little value anywhere. Border loyalty became shaken when thousands of dollars' worth of human chattels disappeared in a night. For a time, as we have seen, a few commanders had returned their slaves to loyal owners. Early in 1862 an officer operating in Missouri, commanding an Iowa regiment, brought to his camp several fugitives through whom he had obtained valuable information. He asked for their freedom. But the owner came for them. The Iowa officer denied him and allowed the slaves to escape. In consequence the department commander, General Halleck, sent a detachment in pursuit of the negroes. They were overtaken; one of them was shot and the others returned to the owner; at the same time the Iowa officer was placed under arrest.

This sharp action caused the matter to be speedily brought to Congress. In the midst of the discussion which followed the introduction of a Bill of Relief into

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