The Freedmen of Port Royal, South Carolina. Official Reports [cover title]. The Negroes at Port Royal, S. C., Report of the Government Agent [caption title]. Edward L. Pierce.
The Freedmen of Port Royal, South Carolina. Official Reports [cover title]. The Negroes at Port Royal, S. C., Report of the Government Agent [caption title]

How Formerly Enslaved People Reacted to Freedom in 1862

The Freedmen of Port Royal, South Carolina. Official Reports [cover title]. The Negroes at Port Royal, S. C., Report of the Government Agent [caption title]

Notes: The second (separate) edition of this important early report on a pilot project that helped determine federal policies to govern and assist the enslaved people who were freed during the Civil War.

The Union army occupied the Port Royal area (a network of islands just north of the Georgia border) early in the conflict. The white plantation owners in the area abandoned their lands and their slaves as the Union army approached. This left thousands of people who were still legally enslaved without a means of support (Lincoln had not yet issued the Emancipation Proclamation). They became de facto wards of the federal government which, with the help of Northern abolitionists, set up schools for the children and arranged for the adults to continue to farm more or less as sharecroppers.

The newly freed people in Port Royal fell under the purview of Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, who sent the abolitionist Edward Lillie Pierce to South Carolina to report on the situation. Pierce surveyed and described the ad hoc farming programs that developed in the area and offered assurances that the men and women who had only known a life of slavery would successfully join free society. Many men volunteered for the army, Pierce noted, and the fields were ably tended by women, children, and the elderly.

Pierce's report was first printed in Boston in 1862 under the title "The Negroes at Port Royal." It was reprinted in the Rebellion Record, a journal chronicling the Civil War as it happened, with a short, new introduction by Pierce dated May 1863. This is an offprint of the Rebellion Record. In the introduction Pierce notes that groups of recently freed African Americans had pooled their wages to buy five plantations at tax sales in the Port Royal area.

Pp. 291–315.

Edition + Condition: Corners a bit chipped, else very good in the original string-tied self-wrappers.

Publication: New York: Rebellion Record, 1863.

Item No: #308185

Price: $500