James Alex Bagget
This is a chapter about emancipation in the American South and of the national policy that initiated it. Its content extends from the freeing of the first Virginia "contrabands" in 1861 to the granting of citizenship and the vote to the freedmen. It broadly outlines those works describing wartime emancipation and black employment in Union-held areas along the Atlantic coast, the Mississippi Valley, and the Gulf coast. While doing so it suggests how historians have related what was happening to blacks in the occupied areas to the Union's needs for manpower and soldiers and to the establishment of policy in Washington. This chapter bridges the gap between wartime emancipation and the Freedmen's Bureau and related agencies. Finally, it summarizes some exceptional collections of essays on emancipation. Overall, my purpose is to introduce some significant books and writers who have best come to grips with the issue of emancipation. For the most part the works discussed here were published during or after the peak of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
For an overview of Federal policy toward the blacks of the Civil War South, see Bell Irvin Wiley old but good, Southern Negroes, 1861-1865 ( 1938). Wiley traces the status of slaves within Union army lines from the invasion of the Virginia Tidewater in spring 1861. After General Benjamin F. Butler found that slaves had been used by Confederates to construct fortifications, he declared them to be "contraband of war." Soon after, Congress broadened the policy to include all slaves of Confederates. Then when Butler occupied the South Car