Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Slave Labor in the Defense of Galveston

Posted in African Americans by Andy Hall on August 15, 2011

Last week I had a post concerning (somewhat tangentially) the use of impressed African Americans as laborers on the defensive works at Galveston. It’s a subject that deserves much more close attention than I’ve had time to get into here, but I thought I’d pass along a few contemporary citations that address the prevalence of such laborers here, and the ongoing friction between the military, which needed every able-bodied hand it could get by any means, and slaveholders who were reluctant to turn their property over to the Confederacy for military labor.

Impressed slaves building fortifications at James Island, South Carolina. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.