Many Rivers to Cross: Into The FireHistorical Slave Artifacts being sold always have and always will make me physically ill. That said, if it were within my means, I’d purchase EVERY document I could acquire and seek to return it to the rightful descendants. This is NOT memorabilia. This is my Ancestry and legacy.

Given we’ve just viewed Many Rivers to Cross: Into the Fire and spent time paying homage to the Ancestors who sought freedom in Contraband Camps established during the Civil War, I could NOT pass by this SOLD artifact holding a wealth of genealogy and family lineage knowledge.

The record in entirety is provided below. Thanks to AAGSAR Member Sandra Williams Bush (Ancestral Callings) for sharing the site link. A painful experience to scroll through but valuable one nonetheless.

“The Contraband sought to live as free men & women in the midst of an uncertain future…” ~ @HenryLouisGates #ManyRiversPBS

I pay homage to the Ancestors (Damballah Egun)



71009 – EXTREMELY RARE ARCHIVE OF THE US ARMY NEAR NEW ORLEANS SETTING UP THE FIRST CONTRABAND CAMPS TO ORGANIZE NEGROES INTO WORKING UNITS FOR BUILDING FORTIFICATIONS AND LABOR FOR LOCAL PLANTATIONS, Includes the following [a] Camp Parapet near New Orleans, LA, February 1st, 1863. Three large pages in manuscript, Headquarters, Detachment of the 42nd Mass. Camp Parapet, LA. “Regulations for Contraband Camps and Working Parties”. An elaborate description of organization of the Negro contrabands appointing Corporal George H. Smith of the 42nd Mass. Vol., as general overseer at camp with instructions that the different detachments are quartered in the line of tents, one contraband is appointed the cook for each tent, another placed in charge of the ratios. The instructions continue to include calling the roll before leaving camp and none are left behind to “loaf about the camp”. Contrabands will be organized in squad of 25 to be placed under an intelligent man to be selected from the squad by the overseer. He will be called “BOSS” and will not be required to do any labor but is responsible for the rest of his squad. The duties of various levels of overseers is also outlined keeping accounts of time in labor by the squads, clothing given to them by the government. Five detachments of contrabands will form a division and will be placed under the control of a commissioned officer or sergeant. The contrabands will not be permitted to leave camp except to perform several tasks except with a written pass. Hours of labor will be from 7 AM until sunset allowing one hour at noon for dinner except on Saturday when all work will cease at 4 PM. Sergeant Washburn will have supervision of the work at the earthworks or fortifications and all overseers will report to him. Each overseer will report to Corporal Smith the number of men in their detachments at work and the number sick so rations can be readied for the following day. Signed Captain Davis W. Bailey, Superintend of Contrabands. [b] Three large 8″ X 13″ pages in manuscript detailing the number of Negro contrabands listed by male and female who were moved from Greenville Colony to Colony #4 for work on the fortifications. Husbands are listed by name along with their wives by name and the number of children in the family. The dates of the movement of these families are noted in the far column. There are 69 men and 68 women listed by name and in some case other women listed with one man such as sisters of either the man or woman. The contraband camps soon became a haven for sickness with many dying due to poor sanitary conditions and poor food quality. The Negroes in many cases were herded into cramped quarters after being left on plantations to fiend for themselves or leaving the plantations looking for better working conditions. Many times they were worse off than on the plantations as slaves. This archive is extremely rare and the first of its kind we have ever seen. It is interesting to note that the majority of the male slaves had taken a second name [many times that of their former masters] by this time. The 42nd was instrumental in forming a Negro Regiment. Captain Leonard with Companies “C” and “H” was employed during the first half of the year 1863 at Camp Parapet, the men serving as engineers and constructing a redoubt at that place. Here Captain Leonard organized a colored regiment largely officered by men from the 42nd Mass. and known as the 1st Louisiana Engineers. A wonderful group describing the inner organization of a contraband camp early in the administration of General Banks in Louisiana…………………………………….$895.00 SOLD

Camp Parapet - Page 1 Camp Parapet - Page 2 Camp Parapet - Page 3 Camp Parapet - Page 4 Camp Parapet - Page 5

[Source: African American Slavery & History Items]