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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Cumberland Landing. VA. Group of "Contrabands" at Foller's House.

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James F. Gibson, CUMBERLAND LANDING, VA. GROUP OF "CONTRABANDS" AT FOLLER'S HOUSE (1862). Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Creator James F. Gibson
Context Gibson was one of several photographers of the Civil War.
Audience The general public in the North
Purpose To depict the war

Historical Significance

Slaves seized their freedom during the Civil War before Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. These former Virginia slaves escaped to the Union lines in 1862. Termed "contraband," a word that underscored their status as property, escaped slaves both deprived the South of much-needed labor and presented Union leaders with the problem of how to respond to them.

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