Tuesday, March 10, 2020

News From The National Archives: Did the Confederate Government Pay Slaves?

Confederate Slave Payrolls Shed Light on Lives of 19th Century African American Families

By Victoria Macchi | National Archives News

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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4, 2020 — For all of March 1862, a man named Ben cooked for the Confederate military stationed at Pinners Point, VA, earning 60 cents a day that would go to his owner.A few months later and 65 miles away,  Godfrey, Willis, and Anthony worked on “obstructions of the Appomattox River” at Fort Clifton.

Then there were Grace, Silvia and Bella, among several women listed as laborers at South Carolina’s Ashley Ferry Nitre Works in April 1864, near the names of children like Sarah, Eugenia and Sampson.   

They are single lines, often with no last name, on paper yellowed but legible after 155 years, among thousands scrawled in loping letters that make up nearly 6,000 Confederate Slave Payroll records, a trove of Civil War documents digitized for the first time by National Archives staff in a multiyear project that concluded in January. Continued at  Full Text Link: National Archives

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