An Army of Fugitives: A History of the Men, Women, and Children Who Fled Slavery During the United States Civil War.


ACLS Fellowship Program




This project examines the large-scale flight of enslaved men, women, and children from farms and plantations to US army camps during the Civil War, a mass exodus widely credited with pressuring President Abraham Lincoln to initiate emancipation policies. But apart from these broad strokes, which are widely repeated but not deeply investigated in the historical literature on the US Civil War, we know very little about the people themselves: who they were, what circumstances surrounded their flight, and how they experienced life in wartime refugee camps. This social history of slave flight during the Civil War years reorients our attention by examining the process of emancipation in the United States from the perspective of individual refugees and their families.