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Rebel Cavalry impressing slaves from a neighboring plantation to work on fortifications of Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
Civil War drawings collection, approximately 1861-1865.
Schell, Francis H., 1834-1909
New-York Historical Society
Drawing: Graphite on paper. 7 4/8 x 5 1/4 in. A mounted Confederate soldier brandishes a sword toward enslaved African Americans to get them to follow other cavalry. The owners of the plantation watch as the slaves walk off. Signed at lower left in graphite: 'WTC'; verso inscribed at upper center: 'Rebel Cavalry impresssing / slaves to work on the fortifications of / Charleston Harbor (S.C) from--/ a neighboring plantation.'
Charleston (S.C.)--History--Civil War, 1861-1865United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--African AmericansUnited States--History--Civil War--Participation, African AmericansConfederate States of America. Army--Participation, African AmericanCavalrySlaverySlavesSoldiersPlantations
Drawings (visual works)
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
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For a report of a similar incident describing the impressing of enslaved African Americans into the Confederate Army in Savannah, see New York Times, August 21st, 1863: 'Interesting from the South.; Rebel Report of the Operations at Charleston Impressing Slaves,': 'A special order has been issued by Brig.-Gen. Mercee, in command at Savannah, impressing into the rebel service one-fifth of the able-bodied male slaves in Eastern, Southern and Southwestern Georgia, for the purpose of erecting additional fortifications for the defense of Savannah. 'Transportation will be furnished them and wages paid at the rate of $25 per month. The Government will be responsible for the value of such negroes as may be killed by the enemy, or may in any manner fall into his hands.' About the Artist: Francis H. Schell was an artist hired as a 'special artist' by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper in 1861. He was particularly interested in illustrating scenes depicting 'contraband' slaves, or slaves who labored for the military.