North Carolina Slaveholder to the Commander of the Department of North Carolina, October 8, 1862
This is the text from a letter between a North Carolina slaveholder, Mr. Taylor, and the Commander of the Department of North Carolina, Maj. Gen. Foster from October 8, 1862. In the spring of 1862, Union General Burnside led an expedition into the North Carolina coast that resulted in Union occupation of eastern Carolina. Due to this Union presence in North Carolina, many enslaved men and women fled to Union lines in search of freedom and protection from the army. The slaveholder in this letter was writing to inquire about two slaves of his that “refused to be hired & have gone into the Federal line.” He was asking for relief because these men supported his family and now he is in a situation where he has to provide everything. This letter demonstrated both the flight of slaves into Union territory in North Carolina, as well as the importance the institution of slavery to many slaveholders and the negative consequences that flight of slaves could have on them.
Carteret County, North Carolina
Prompted by the necessity of the case, I have to make on you a requisition quite unpleasant- For the last two months I have supported my Family by the hire of two carpenters. They a few days ago refused to be hired & have gone into the Federal line- which has left on my hand for support twenty two women & children- I ask relief, & refer you to the Provost Marshall of any one else in this place, or any acquaintance in Newbern for satisfaction as the reasonableness of the case, an order on the proper authority here (if you deem proper) will be thankfully accepted Respectfully
Jas H. Taylor
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