Friday, February 22, 2013

Contrabands Escaping

In this drawing by Edwin Forbes, titled "Contrabands Escaping" and done on May 29, 1864, at Hanover, Virginia, shows a group of 10 slaves fleeing on foot and in a one-horse cart. One man, out front and with a large gunny sack over his shoulder, leads the party. A lop-eared mule pulls the cart on which a woman holding a parasol and two children sit on a bundle of goods. A pipe-smoking woman walks beside the cart with a youngster on her shoulder, while a boy walks in front of her. Bringing up the rear looks to be three more mature men, at least two of which lean forward under the weight of heavy bags.

One has to wonder if the group "inherited" the mule,cart, and possessions from masters who had fled the approach of the Union army. If so, surely they believed that they deserved such material goods from their owners for years of unpaid labor.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.  

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