According to the Civil War Dictionary, "three slaves of a Virginia owner sought refuge at Ft. Monroe, Va., on May '61 and the Southerner demanded their return under the Fugitive Slave Acts. Ben Butler refused, saying that since Va. had seceded, she had no right to the Federal laws. In a report to the Sec. of War, 30 July '61, he referred to the slaves as �contraband of war.� and the name came into unofficial usage as the slang term for [African American] or Slave. The idea of contraband as a doctrine disappeared after the passage of the Confiscation Acts." In Gallatin, Paine set up a large program of hiring free slaves to work in the hospitals, kitchens, and the fort. They lived in contraband camps.( Boatner, Mark Mayo. The Civil War Dictionary. New York, N.Y. : McKay, c1988.)
Alice Williamson Diary - Table of Contents
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