Slaves imprisoned in Baltimore to evade DC emancipation & Union Army recruiting

A followup to my post on DC emancipation petitions…

The following is a partial list of people who were jailed in Baltimore by slave owners hoping to evade the April 1862 D.C. emancipation and/or the Union Army’s recruitment of black soldiers in Maryland. (Slaves in Maryland were not emancipated until January 1864, when the state adopted a new constitution.) This snapshot shows page 337 of Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War, edited by Ira Berlin, Barbara J. Fields, et. al. (The New Press, 1992). The correspondence from which the list was extracted is dated July 27, 1863, in Baltimore.

This volume is an extract from The Black Military Experience, Series 2 of the multivolume work Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867 (Cambridge University Press, 1982). The abbreviation in the last column notes the owners’ disloyalty to the Union, that being a condition for recruitment of their enslaved workers.

I will try to track down the rest of the list. Please write if you have the list or know where it can be found.


From _Free at Last_, ed. Ira Berlin The New Press, 1992.

From _Free at Last_, ed. Ira Berlin The New Press, 1992.

For the benefit of those searching for ancestors, here is a searchable list of the names: Charles Dorsey, William Sims, Samuel Davis, John Francis Toodles, Henry Toodles, Henry Wilson, James Dent, George Hammond, Charles Foote, Michael Fletcher, Betsy Ward, Virginia West, Ellen J. Roberson, Lena Harrod, Rachel Harrod, Sophia Simmons, Martha Wells, Susan Collins, Willie [Collins?], Martha Clark.

I have checked the names of those from Prince George’s County. All but one of the slave owners’ names are familiar to me, neighbors and possibly kinfolk of Magruders. The surnames West and Clark also occur among those enslaved by Magruders in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.

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