tv Elizabeth Cobbs The Tubman Command CSPAN May 12, 2019 10:40am-12:01pm EDT
[applause] >> she will be signing books at the information desk and the ivv bookshop is your selling copies of "girl in black and white" so please make sure you get your copy. thank you and have a good night. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching tv on c-span2. booktv, television for serious readers. >> pdb everybody. my name is leah connolly and i'm with the smithsonian associates. it is my pleasure to welcome you
to this next program, "the tubman command: a novel" here just a few quick details before and reduce to nights guest. first please take a moment to silence your mobile devices. second, you'll notice we have c-span recording to nights program. for information regarding to nights broadcast please check out the section of our website smithsonian associates.org. also for anyone whose first time is at the smithsonian associates program we extend a warm welcome. for new members we thank you for your support. without you these programs would not be possible. tonight we're very pleased to welcome to the smithsonian elizabeth. elizabeth is an award-winning novelist and documentary filmmaker, author of eight books including the nonfiction the hello girls, america's first women soldiers in the near times best-selling historical novel hamilton affair.
her newest novel, "the tubman command" is available for sale after the program outside of the lecture hall. with that said i know we're all in for a fascinating talk this evening. without further ado i would like to please join me in welcoming elizabeth cobbs. [applause] >> thank you so much. i'm really honored to be here. i can't think of any better place to launch a novel like this here in washington, d.c. and at the smithsonian. so thank you so much for being a part of my first audience to talk about harriet tubman. so i'm really very honored. so we begin with the mystery that we all love mysteries with begin with industry. on june 1, 1863, 2 u.s. gunships
crapped up a river a black water river toward confederate rifle pits in a river that a study with underwater mines and infested with alligators. the river leads deep into the vast part of america that's known as enemy territory. aboard our 300 meant holding their breath, 300 uniformed african-american men, and a handful of, small handful of white officers who led by a kernel who once wrote with john brown. they are creeping up river, and these men have agreed to risk their lives and perhaps die for i country half of which is struggling to keep them in chains, and half of which is struggling to make them free. the question and the mystery is,
why did they pick this target? why did they go this night? why did they go this route? why were 300 brand-new soldiers able to triumph over confederate strongholds that had 2000 soldiers ten miles away? nay 25 miles up a river river and there are 2000 soldiers, veterans, stationed very close by. so the question is, who was guiding them? could it have been harriet tubman? the former conduct on the underground railroad who many historians believe was at the scene, even though nowhere in the military record does it say that harriet tubman was at the right hand of colonel james montgomery, , the man who is leading these troops and had written with john brown. one historian raised a very legitimate question, which is if you have no record, how do we
know? harriet tubman i get stuck out like a sore thumb. how could she have infantry guidelines, and one for maryland that in south carolina, play she did no welcome place for most enslaved people spoke of the dialect which you would never understood practically as a separate language. so are we seeing in the fragmentary evidence we have, and is speaking out as a historian, not a novelist we look into that, are we seeing in the fragmentary evidence but we want to see, which is the single most heroic female patriot in american history? who was harriet tubman in the civil war? wishy and nurse and a washerwoman? for union soldiers, or was she a scout, a spy and ultimately a veteran? so today i want to sketch the scene and tell you what which l forgot about the civil war, get
us all on dry ground which is a good metaphor in this case. i want to ask you after i have sketched at the scene and later the evidence, i want you to draw your own conclusions about the famous called the come be river raid of 1863. under what i'm saying come be as is a dumb south carolina rather than -- what i started research, not quite knowing the terrain myself. some hoping what this will do in the novel also is to bring to light the story that's mostly forgotten and help us all understand from experience what i think is our greatest fema patriot in american history harriet tubman. for so what's a few words about why i apply the techniques of fiction to story which could be told as nonfiction quite naturally. i think it's because essentially it's a curious problem and it's a problem we often have when
writing about women history. there are two met problems and it away harriet tubman is not that unusual. it's a problem we have when we talk about most women in history. most people but especially women, which is first the lives are only a likely documented, right? people didn't go around writing down things about someone they did know was important did know what they would do that would be important. the evidence is often scanty and as a result we tend to think i didn't read about that in the book so it must not have happened. we tend not to believe the evidence. there's also a problem, second pump which as we to disbelieve and i'm not going to advance my slides here, this is not a ship but it should be similar to the kind the reuse in the combahee river raid and you see the american flags flying from about. not only do we not have a lot of evidence but the evidence we have we can do disbelieve. this is because what
psychologists call selective attention. that is, it's the process where are brains are trying to focus all the time and focus on a problem at hand. we tend to ignore stuff that doesn't fit with our assumptions about what is important and that's kind of peripheral to our brain, our assumptions about reality. by the way, you will see this picture twice, a very famous photograph newly famous recently found of harriet tubman about the age of older than she was at the time of the american civil war when she was just this tiny slip of a thing five feet tall. and as you see, robert could've been blown away in the big wind. very slender woman. i found this was not just applicable to harriet tubman. my last book was what the first woman soldiers and the united states and they had this odd situation which was a as you see them pictured here with general john pershing they were recruited by the american army
to go abroad in france. they served valorous liquor they connected 26 my telephone calls on the trenches to headquarters and worthwhile one. they stood in the front lines at muster calls at the end of the war that we have now video footage has been published, released by national archive showing women in circles upon lines and lines of men. when they got him the army forgot they had been there. they said they were not veterans despite the dog tags the war and everything else. it took them 60 years to get military recognition. it's a problem that we tend to have, which is we sort of forget about people we think were not important at the time and we assume there were not. the problem with harriet tubman i was lucky with the hello girls because i could go find personal files. we found this new film footage. we have photographic evidence like this slide. with harriet tubman there are no
personnel records for volunteers. there's no film footage of the american civil war. they are very precious few photographs. what we have to do is accept the evidence is never going to be complete. we have to reason our way through the evidence that we have and come up with our best guess way that evidence which always for me calls my president truman's request for a one armed economist. his advisers as like you want a one armed economist? he said because they are always telling on the one hand, and on the other hand. [laughing] it's frustrating. i'm going to do and when it and on other than the evidence we have about harriet tubman but i'm also going to encourage you to read my historical novel and this is why i applied fiction to harriet tubman because fiction likes the dark corners of evidence. it helps us to work through and
by using knowable facts, known facts as guideposts, it allows us to imagine how the unimaginable might plausibly have occurred. how with tiny puny five-foot tall illiterate black woman with a bounty on her head infiltrated enemy territory in south carolina multiple times, gathered intelligence at the risk of her life, convinced a group of highly educated white men to take her advice, and guided the first major mission of black troops in america to victory. as i promise i'm going to set the scene because i myself have three minus of the details sometimes. the war first breaks out in south carolina. it breaks out -- this shows your picture fort sumter and its
bombardment by confederate troops. it was a federal fort and when the federal government refused to evacuate the fort, the confederate troops began to bomb it. raising a course at the end of the battle their own flag, the confederate stars and bars within the interior of fort sumter. this is in charleston. south carolina was the hotbed of secession. i stayed at stanford university and i always remember my great professor who won the pulitzer prize and what of the subject and the only talk about the hotbed of secession. someday i have to go down to the hbs, that hotbed of secession. anyway, the first plans were laid in south carolina and it became the first state to secede from the union. following the 1860 election of abraham lincoln. this bombardment is what initiated the battle but the war went on for a long time.
it went on for a course for years and in the first two years it seems not particularly likely that the union would prevail, but the north so to speak would win. affect hundreds of thousands would die before there's any indication really who would win. part of the reason for this is the south is a big place. the 11 states of the confederacy are bigger than all of europe. so how was the union going to keep in its grasp a place bigger than all of europe? the europeans did not think that was going to happen. we were busily supplying both sides they were taken decision on this especially since north had not taken a position on what the real reason was anyway. this made one of lincolns first
decisions very important and this was the plan, the decision to blockade the coastline of the south, to keep the south from being supplied by the rest of the world by blockade runners. i know some of you remember rhett butler. channel that in your memory but mostly british and french and other people for money the blockade. they came up with what's called the anaconda plan which this map shows you, the depiction of the type which is basically tried to blockade 3000 miles of coastline. to blockade 3000 miles of coastline you needed need a nah the union did have but you also need a place to water your ships, repair your ships, place from which to launch outwards,, place for ships to be protected as a go out and back on various errands and on various attacks. the navy decided upon trying to get some piece of the sea islands of south carolina right south of the coastline near
charleston. you see charleston at the top, and then here is what are called the sea islands. sea islands are so close to the shore that honestly when i first, don't tell anybody, a welcome c-span might come anyway when i first went to buford i didn't know i was on an island. i cut them thought weight, i thought as a supposed be on an island by now. there's short little bridges. you don't feel like you're causing overmuch. what that means is these become the base for this launching expedition hopefully to retake sumter but also to just simply have a safe place for the atlantic blockading squadron. so early in the world of november 1861 the navy launches an attack on port royal island and the main town of buford. this the text that bombardment which was undertaken by the way, they got it in a day. they quickly overtook the
island. marines ran ashore with the american flag and then they found themselves marooned for the next four years. of course they could get out and back by sea, but it would be another four years before charleston could be successfully taken by union troops. they were there for quite a long time. often i use energy set a couple of times north versus south but with remember this was a struggle not as much between north and south but a a strugge over the meaning of america. there were people, northerners who sided with the south. there were southerners who sided with the north. in fact, at that battle and one of the ships i just showed you was this man, captain perceval and use one of the captains. he was from charleston, this man for some charleston, south carolina, the captain of unique ship. on show was his brother who is in charge of the confederate
defenses. so i can think of hard anymore classic example of brother against brother as the work turned out to be. you are thinking what happens with harriet tubman? harriet tubman in the sense enters into the scene very soon after this because what happens when the union takes buford and port royal island, the victory accidentally liberates 10,000 contraband. these are these people pictured you can contraband is a term often use in naval exercises, i'm sure some of you know and meets in time of war you can seize your enemies property if they're going to use the property to make war against you. so by that definition since the north had no laws against, overhead and the united states have laws against slavery, the way they took this property of the confederacy was to declare them copper venter 10,000 people on the sea islands that were liberated in that way. our many photographs you can lop
about what was called the port royal experiment. what's involved in trying to free people? how do you help them make that transition to ask a man in of the expedition at the project was named david hunter. david hunter was ahead of those of the department of the south. it was his job to figure what to do with all these people, how to secure this island which is so close to the mainland. i swear you could throw a baseball if you bet on the knee anyway, could throw a baseball and you could get someone on the other side. general hunter wanted to personally wanted to liberate these people but he also wanted to put some of them, the men, in a uniform. why? to protect this island. you have to keep the island. it can be easily overrun and were many threatened moments when it looks like the confederacy would take back the islands.
but the problem was he was stymied on both sides in trying to do this. he was stymied by the fact that lincoln was reluctant. in fact, congress positively oppose the idea putting black men into uniform and giving them guns. so that was the first problem to be solved. the second problem was the reluctance of said men to be coerced into joining the army. these are people that spent their whole lives in coerced. also it wasn't altogether clear they were free. just because they were contraband, what does that mean? there wasn't the 13th 13th amendment was a past until virtually the end of the war. before that was the emancipation proclamation which went into effect and was red allowed under emancipation tree on port royal island on january 1, 1863. you see you see black men in uniforms.
this is when the proclamation is being read out. remember that even that isn't a very clear guarantee because first of all it only applies to the states that have sast the unit. harriet tubman is a from maryld which is a loyal state. this means that her family from the remnants who are still there are still not free. there was a challenge to some extent in recruiting men for what became known as the first and the second south carolina volunteers. however, minted joan up -- men did join up. they had ever been in the picture so is some pretty far back but this is the first south carolina volunteers which was the first official regiment of the united states government of african-american men, or merely insulate people. they were the first because he got special permission basic from lincolnism obviously you have to hold the island so you
can form some regiments and that begins the process and october 1862. this is where we come to the start of harriet tubman. because there's a large civilian population in addition to the men who were on this island. you saw the photographs of children and women and old people, large civilian population. not just from the island but refugees from other parts either from other island or people who are finding their way from the shores on to port royal. one of the things this brings about is an influx, not surprisingly, of missionaries. missionaries and abolitionists who go south who feel compelled to go south and help figure out how can we help people who spent her whole life being enslaved, how quaint make this experiment succeed? harriet tubman was one of the earliest to arrive and this was it would caddy engraving in the book in which she later describe what went on there.
this is a woodcut she would've seen in her lifetime and that was made with her wearing a coat of a union soldier and holding a rifle in the background of the tense from the first or second south carolina volunteers. an interesting thing to know about harriet tubman, how she gets there is that she is recommended. she's sent there by the massachusetts governor john andrew, and john andrew recommends that she be sent there at government expense to help general hunter. he writes to hunter the harriet tubman is a very valuable woman. if she were mostly a nurse and a washerwoman it doesn't seem likely that the governor would have had are sent at the expense of the government or that he was singling her out in particular. no one has ever recommended me as a very valuable woman, i'm just saying.
it takes something for a governor to write a general and to send harriet tubman ten. what issue going to do? by the way, so that's one clue. that's a clue, not a fact. all we know is he wrote this letter. we don't know what it meant really. but another thing to contemplate is why she even went. a lot of abolitionists stayed home. sensible men, lots of them not just frederick douglass whose pictures and brightness frederick douglass is about three years older than harriet tubman. they were actually from the same part of the eastern shore of maryland, both from dorchester county. he did send two of his sons. this is a picture of of one of his sons, sergeant major lewis douglas who served with the 54th massachusetts regiment who had a very famous expedition after the combahee river rate. you start to think had she not
done enough? has of this woman done enough? between 1849- 1861 she liberated herself which itself was quite an achievement. this is the runaway notice that was put up, , sort of like a police bulletin although it was taken out by the man who of course i would harriet tubman. it refers to a woman about 27 years of age. her birth name was -- she went by minty. later she took her mother sang harriet ash got to be an adult. that said she was fine looking. what an interesting statement. if you're trying to describe somebody because you want people to spot them in the crowd, do not about giving the compliments like you look great today. this was a woman who if somebody saw her smiling, , talking, movg about which shea she's a fine looking woman. that of course it also becomes a
part of my story. she was so interesting because not only did she free herself to think a frightening that must've been to walk 80, 90 miles i herself never knowing if you would be captured at any moment but she not only did that but she decided after she got to philadelphia to start coming back. she said different things at different times why she did. she said that what's the good of reason if you have to enjoy it alone? if all the people in your family, the people you know and grew up with, your brothers and sisters and your parents and your nieces and nephews are still there, sometimes i think how could a woman have done this? i think only a woman would have done this. you have to go back for every family member. a lot of the people who escaped were younger men, people who can run, who can get away, who has the strength and stamina and
sometimes it's the opportunities and more often they were men than women. i like to turn the question around when you think about a woman could do it. you think may be only a woman would have done it. name me one other person in american history about whom we can say this. it's sort of a can, stretch your imagination to different time in history and you think of a jewish person going back in to the warsaw ghetto after they got out. have them go back nine times, ten times, 12 times. have them rescue 90, 100 people and pulled him back back and go back out again. it is utterly remarkable. by the way, this is documented that it's not closely documented. we don't know every person. we don't know all the names and we never ever will because she was committing a crime. spies don't take selfies of themselves. [laughing] no criminals generally talk about what they're up to.
it's left up for some else to do. thomas wentworth, these are pictures of the debate the think she was doing, people turned escape of rivers. this is from the famous book on old tom's cabin, a depiction of a woman who is trying to run away, eliza famously crossing the ice which was a true story, trying to get away from dogs chasing her across that small ribbon of water that meant freedom on the other side. thomas higginson who was a good friend of harriet tubman and introducer in boston active at times when she gave public addresses and later by the way he calms the commander, colonel higginson, command of the first south carolina volunteers. what he said about her earlier on, he said she has the report of $12,000 offered for her in maryland. and will probably be burned alive whenever she is caught.
so again any one person you can say this about wes that kind of off the charts bravery. so one might think, therefore, have accomplished this that when war broke out harriet tubman might've been kind of content to let the armies fight it out. thank goodness come finally outlasted but she wasn't content to get an instead she wanted to go south where the war was very hot and to spend another four years of her life. there she did nurse the wounded. there she did wash clothes. there she helped lead women start small pieces and she also interrogated refugees that could bring information that might be helpful to the union. and if the written testimony of two american officers counter anything, general saxton and colonel montgomery, their
testimony, if the tesla is to be believed and why would we can ce to also quote a spy made many a rate inside the enemies lines, unquote. and was quote invaluable as a scout. by the way you might say how did harriet tubman get to be so brave? sometimes i i like to speak ofr bravery but i don't want you to all think it lets all of us off the hook. somehow she was born with some jeans the rest of us did not inherit. by the way sometimes maybe it's because of actually a very profound disability she had and more and more people know that the sum you don't which was quite a a disabled woman. she got a disability as a child about age 12 which it entered the store in cambridge right near dorchester maryland. she walked in that store one day as a young child come have been center and a man ran in after a young child ran in by trying to escape a man who was armed with
a whip was trying to catch his child, trying to catch this late. they went into the store and thomas wentworth harriet tubman puts up upper as of the boy runs behind runs out the door. the slave owner was so met the pics up in the middle of the store there's a scale which was, and countries were at the thumb then what are heavy iron objects that help you tell how much an object is. he throws it at this point and misses the point and instead hits harriet tubman in it at which she had such a traumatic brain injury that for the entire rest of her life she very easily slipped into unconsciousness to it would be as if i just suddenly did this. i'm doing that for the fun of it but poor harriet tubman never ever did that for the fun of it. so again some people say may be that impaired her brain in a
way. she couldn't feel fear. brain traumas do odd things to the head. its temporal lobe epilepsy as it's called impaired her ability to feel fear. then what are do we to make ofe fact that she stood up before the injury to protect a child younger than herself? that as a 12-year-old she stood stood up and confronted and armed white male probably twice her size. so that bravery came from somewhere deep within. and also the other element for break what you think is relevant, here is something you might feel in the moment but harriet tubman new 11 years in the underground railroad, mac used in the army, that she could lose consciousness at any moment on a trail. we've all heard of and we may note and we may be disabled veterans, but how many people go into the army with a profound
disability, volunteer and our station in the most perilous times of assignments with a profound disability going in? that was harriet tubman. so this brings us to the combahee river rate. what historians can tell us in nonfiction books is that we do need no harriet tubman was a person who it was kind come in between, people recently off the mainland are some of the people on the sea islands and that she would interrogate information that was abuse. by the way, as i said the islands were very close to the mainland. we know this partly from peoples testimony including susie taylor it was a nurse with the first software volunteers. her husband edward was a sergeant in the army and she said later she wrote a memoir so interesting to read any of these memoirs of that time, she said sometimes one or two soldiers would desert to us. saying they had no negroes to
fight for. and, of course, what this man is, now those are white soldiers, but as of the people got across these narrow rivers, they are often sought entrances because people did not trust the first white face or second or third they would see. so harriet tubman was well known and they would seek her out. these people came with very, very valuable information. in fact, we know this from robert e. lee about the same month the rate was being planned he was elsewhere in the south of the time but he wrote to another officer, he said quote, the chief source of information to the enemy is through our negroes. of course now has his own little selective perception problem because he says they are easily deceived by proper caution. he knows he's on the source of intelligence and information but he doesn't want to believe that the negroes could be capable of
this. i just want to say a word about nomenclature. my word choice you can negroes at this time was equivalent of slaves as a summer like robert e. lee generally didn't use the word slavery he would say negroes as a polite word i suppose he thought. harriet tubman by the way she preferred the word black and that's something we know about her, that she did what people necessarily could call her collar and she was a person who ever took offense easily. she knew people were of goods. and she was entitled anybody down to a particular word but the word she preferred was black. general david hunter and his two colonels, thomas wentworth higginson and james montgomery were very eager for this information. they wanted information not just to defend the island but so maybe, maybe they could launch other forays against the coast and maybe capture that hated symbol of the rebellion, the
rebellion that it split the land of george washington and the land of john adams. they were using this information for different things. they had informed on one of the first raids was against florida, jacksonville, florida, not a far sail south. the came away with 13 bales of cotton and about 30 formally enslavement. they free defend. not a lot there. the next month in april 1863 the union attempted an assault on fort sumter. go right for the main chance, right? but they were foiled right away, carefully planned, , lots of ships. marines onboard, army at the ready but they were foiled by underwater mines that the south used to mind its harbors in the area on fort sumter and they were raped by the artillery from the fort itself. that's because these things, these tornadoes were very, very deadly weapons.
what happens the next month in may of 1863 is that someone, someone begins planning a raid at the combahee. this is what information become sparse and the trail and of cold. it's announced by local newspaper reporter as a kind of spontaneous laughter and decision change plans will go up the combahee riverboats are to put it to be undertaken without careful planning. that only because you had to get 300 men armed and supplied for an amphibious assault, but you had to figure out a way around this underwater mines and this is a drawing of the underwater mines that is what they look like. they were more to the bottom and sometimes again to other much to create a more impenetrable barrier to pin on a big the was you trying to blockade. this is an actual photograph of one of the mines to get a sense of it.
they had to get round this underwater mines that were about chief defense and the defense that as a said ruined the plan just a month before for the silence or sumter. they were called torpedoes. that's what they're called at the time. i know you're thinking torpedoes like i'm thinking world war ii movie or something. in 1864 battle of mobile bay, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead, he was speaking of the underwater mines, one of which had just sunk the ship in front of him. in the matter of seconds. now, a lot of these are wooden ships. in a river like the combahee it's worse yet. it's a blackwater river. that means the rivers are so
dark, their natural supplements -- sediments. you can't see your hand when you put in the water. this was a real danger and effect one of the ships that went up the combahee a year later within in florida and was sunk by an underwater mine. it could happen anytime. when the second south gillan set out on the night of june 1, a dark but not yet a stormy night, we will get to that, on june 1, 1863 to penetrate penetrate 25 miles up the river defended from the shore by rifle pits, artillery and from underwater mines, they could only do so surely with excellent intelligence. though we don't know it. on the one hand, and on the other hand. but i think that we should make this a think its receipt assumption. it's safe enough in fiction which is why it's so fiction on
the cover of the book. somebody found out where the torpedoes were anchored. somebody discovered that the confederates had temporarily withdrawn their heavy artillery. somebody deduced that tickets were undermanned because of the change in the season because of one for the use call the papers were coming up and the malaria disease and that sort of thing so they were lightly meant at the time. somebody else found out that the new commander assigned to the nearby confederate encampment which had 2000 soldiers, he had a reputation as a slacker. he had not been doing his men as rigorously as he might. somebody put all this together. set it up the chain of command and then helped guide the gunships once the attack was undertaken. likely, it was somebody working with a team of negro scouts.
now, as it turns out harriet tubman was in command of such a team of scouts. or least she claimed to be so in her later application or a military pension. much of what we know about the raid comes from some come some her pension which went through the american congress and through the american government, but a lot of it comes from her autobiography which was then after the war. she got help from a woman sarah bradford in the north to put together an autobiography. the details are sparse. like for history there's never enough detail and she does not describe what the cia today even calls sources and methods because she was a good spy. we don't know much about her process of intelligence gathering by she does corroborate what we know about that day from right of other sources. again, sparse by the way,
montgomery wrote just one paragraph when the raid was over, one paragraph telling us that it had succeeded. so harriet tubman is no were in that military record but neither are many of the people. we know there were a lot there. her volume does corroborate many details. we know, for example, that three ships sailed after dark out of beaufort, south carolina. one of them was granted right away, shallow waters. they came up on the grid and had to transfer everybody to the ships from a third ship. he's ships continued on up the river using a tidal surge because it great knowledge of the tide that had to work against you or could work for you. by dawn they were in sight of people working in the fields. these are people like this about working the fields, the rice plantations of south carolina for going on two centuries,
using the waterways to cultivate the rice. they go up this river and by dawn they are starting to see people. they are also being seen and one of the plantation owners onshore sees, with poor, and you need ship american flag on the front. of course an american flag in this context does mean the flag of freedom for all those people who are insulated. he sees that flag and he notices also one of the trees thing that's in his letter. he notices that there's women on the top deck of the flagship. isn't that strange? the next thing that happens is people began to stream towards these boats, and it's very curious because some people seem to almost expect the ships. a lot of people don't, they're just as surprised as heck and off the go. this this is the only prediction we have from harpers weekly in
june 1863 1863 the drawing thas and subsequently to show what the raid was like and you see these rice fields and use you e the american ships proceeding up river and you see slaves some jumping and a return to get to the ships. the ships discharge small boatst and got people on that way as well, a bright f ways. you just have to match up exactly how it happens because all we have, all we have, all you get is this one drawing by someone who wasn't there from some description from offices. i think it was remarkable it appears on the page and harpers weekly this famous story. this famous story and you see in the bottom in the center is picture of the new which you can get on google any moment of the day which shows that terrible physical damage done to a human body by whipping. this man can you see a man on the left and this is how becomes dressed into union lines as a person playing slavery. the union doctors ask them to
disrupt examine in and the status and a photographer takes this picture. on the right it shows him uniform as a proud member what becomes the use call the troops. in a sense it's irrelevant because this is what this raid was about it was about taking more to the confederacy because not only do they liberate people who they bring on board some of them hope to have the same story to recruit as soldiers but they are beginning to destroy southern means of war. they are destroying food stores, burning plantations. that's one of the things you see the smoke up above on the right-hand side. the southerners are shocked that the plantations are being burned and all this property, inanimate objects are being destroyed. but it is a precursor to something like the march which comes later on.
this is the second south carolina and want to mention something about that because the person in charge is not thomas wentworth higginson. wonderful man can lovely man. who was that of the first software but instead the honor is given to colonel montgomery. we don't quite know why except harriet tubman to say something about this in her biography. she says that hunter, david hunter, general hunter asked her if she would go. would she go along on the raid? she said arbuckle if you avoid james montgomery to lead the raid. how are we to understand this? montgomery was a western. he had ridden and fought with john brown in kansas, bleeding kansas before the american civil war broke out. john brown was somebody who harriet tubman had met and new, but montgomery had fought alongside him. it's hard to exaggerate the importance at that time of the figure of john brown.
many of us today are made we can sing the song or something but don't know a lot about him. at this time for a white man to risk his life to try to start a war to liberate enslaved people which is every meaningful thing. this is a painting that it takes his walk to the cows and, of course, anyone offers up her baby for him to kiss. >> for harriet tubman, and thiss is a later photograph of her well after the war, it was very important that it be colonel montgomery. by the way, our description of the raid was the only one published -- her description -- after the war. it was widely distributed. it was never contradicted. instead, her account and her application for a military pension was supported by u.s. secretary of state william seward in writing. he was almost assassin at the same time as lincoln. an assassin went to his home and
almost killed him. he was desperately wounded. he recommend her for pension. also record a general saxton, the commander over port royal i haven't himself in charge of civilians and military installation. as he wrote, have been was he wrote for application a spider made many raid inside the enemies lines and was invaluable as a scout. montgomery the kernel praised as most remarkable woman and also terribly invaluable. harriet tubman i i want to tell you was eventually granted a military pension. she was awarded the honor of a pension from the united states government as a very old woman. it took her 30 years to get her pension. it was paid retroactively so there's a tiny bit of justice there. but the injustice i think was she was awarded the pension as a nurse, which she was. she was a nurse but men who
served under and read the documents on one man who served under her who she identified as one of the men under her command who himself simply what the u.s. congress and applied for a petition for a special pension from congress for a scouts pension which he received. so man under her got recognition of harriet tubman was, well, a nurse for the u.s. government. in that way in some way she's like women of world war i lebanon earlier and when of world war ii who some of you might be smoke, the women's air force service by such a petition decade after decade to get as one of the women of world war i said all i want, all i want is a flag on my coffin. harriet tubman eventually got that. she was buried in auburn new york where her great still is. this this is a picture i took vy recently. i want to thank the has been for being here and also coming with me on all of my adventures.
and so she got this reward. now back to being a story here. what's her evidence? what's her evidence harriet tubman lead a more important role than that of nurse? what evidence is or even that black scouts made the raid possible? and that harriet tubman probably led in. first, it's hard to imagine, i do think anybody with military experience would say it would be hard to imagine intelligence did not pave the way for this raid. that it wasn't just some spontaneous thing. that's one thing. the other thing is that planters on shore separately, two of them, document that the ships maneuvered around the torpedoes, the hidden torpedoes. how is a ship to maneuver about an object unless they know where it is even if they can't see it? the planters also recognize that oddly some people but everybody but some people on short seem to be expecting this raid.
they were poised to rally of the people. they were not surprised. as i said one planter spotted women or a woman on the top deck of the flagship. so that since the harriet tubman wrote about the raid. by the way she never claimed credit for either the intelligence or for having led the raid. .. let us acknowledge the 300 black troops. i think this was before the 54th massachusetts. it was put into a film saying washington and morgan freeman. so this was be for that. she never claimed that but it
was him who said she went behind the lines many times. among which, she didn't account. she was a spy. this is something she had done before. into enemy territory for a long time. she also under her command by name, one of them was walter, as you start reading my book, you'll meet walter right away. i'll tell you things about him that are not in any record. that's the way fiction is. he does not mention them by name. he never says i was on a boat with harriet tubman. he doesn't mention anybody by name. other than himself. i went up river, this is what i did. and one wonders, i went up river led by a woman. that is like a good application. tubman said she is in the toys
of montgomery, which would suggest she played a major role in strategy even though she didn't climate. nowhere in the military records doesn't say. tubman or anyone house developing intelligence that obviously enjoyed the success of this. it was successful, my novel brings to life the love story. after a dark and stormy night, there is a big to fight, a big storm making it back. the new the braided people, and into this church for talk shoreline, looking forward to going back. have a chance to speak to people at the historic tabernacle baptist church. there's a different church, this is the big one.
not only that for freedom from but to hear recruitment speech. there was journalist. amanda would never met harriet tubman. had not known her name but in the process lead, her codename. he describes what happened. send it off. he says montgomery of 300 blocks, under the guidance of a woman, dashed into the enemies country and struck a blow without losing a man while receiving a scratch. he talked about the speech. the current speech was followed by a speech as a black woman who led the raid. i wonder who's inspiration that
was originated and conducted for sound sense and eloquence to do honor to any man and it created quite presentation. she called moses. no one can document these sources exactly the role harriet tubman played. day by day account that would allow us to pinpoint what happened. literature and fiction and grant me the license. help us imagine and help us see it and help us feel it. originally thought the title of the book : moses, about was a pretty awesome title. the bravest we go here and she did first by herself to liberate people individually. second, recruiting army, a whole
people and help our nation before every american summer in the heart wanted. which is that would be the land of the free. home of the brave so i ask myself and sometimes i wonder when people question what happened on that day, i think to myself, or be making too big a deal about this woman? what evidence do we have? our own selective perceptions and seek what we want to see. i think we're paying the proper attention. [laughter] nothing proper attention has been proposed and previously approved. which was i've written eight books on history. i've studied many persons and events in american history. i truly believe, i think i know from objectively that there is no other rater patriot who has
the stature of harriet tubman. if you agree with me if your conclusions to gay today, i encourage you to take this up with your congressman. consideration by elijah cummings and representative of new york to urge the administration to follow through on the previous plans on the $20 bill. i urge you to take up. i urge you to leave this new book. how the tubman command. thank you. [applause] all that applause was for harriet tubman. thank you. any questions? it's so hard to sit there for so long.
>> i'm so honored -- >> i'm sorry, say that i. good question. harriet pepin was not literate. she never could read. it was illegal for her but maybe her brain injury me that the. she never did learn to read. she relied on other people to write that story. >> [inaudible question] >> i love that question. two questions. how did she regroup back soldiers if they were already in
uniform? the answer, she didn't do any of this alone. donald hunter had recruited people. thomas recruited people. they do not have sufficiently recruits. the city had trouble on the island to think this was a good idea. when new people would come from everywhere, there were people escaping to try to get a short distance to freedom. when people would come and she would interface with them in service a recorder. certainly, when they, her speech at the end was truly a recruitment speech. put on a uniform, pick up a gun. some of them were alongside
there. the chairman, coming about her first and second husband. it's interesting, harriet seven, see this putting mother theresa and spiderman together. somebody must've is respect deeply. you want to humanize a person but by the way, is a lot of false. if you want to make somebody human, make them laugh and cry and be terrible. cranky sometimes. otherwise, it's always a classic figure. somebody who doesn't challenge us to be our better selves. one of the things about harriet
tubman, she was married twice and she had a love-life. she left her first husband because he was free already and he didn't see the need to go with her. when she went back for him to your later to convince him, he was a freed black person of color, he married another woman, a free woman. before we start hating on him too much, i thank you should recognize how much he must have loved her. in that particular part, about half of the african-american population was three and half were slaves. slavery was weird. it took on different natures. he could have married a really cute free woman. fair, to choose from. he chose instead a woman knowing that their children would be enslaved. he must have liked her.
would any man here in the audience do that? so he married a free woman. it broke her heart. she was deciding, this is what my life will be. she becomes a conductor and after the war, she married second. she married a man from the troops, a veteran but we don't know. she comes to york, that's where they actually meet. not right away, people of new york. mother teresa part of her. she marries this man where think is six-foot. kind of handsome guy. we do have pictures of him. he's a veteran and also he was 20 years younger than her. i mention this only because her first husband married a woman who could have made a better choice. would have been sensible to marry everyone. probably sensible for a man 20 years younger to marry someone
his own age. she wasn't attached in that way. but he thought she was pretty fine looking. as the advertisement said. people offered love, she could take care of him. she's noble. a lot of people she never married though. [laughter] i was thinking she was a real human being. >> [inaudible question] >> i can't put my finger exactly on the source but i think it was hayward. the plantation that was rated
and burned by the way, on any of these plantations, the slave quarters. anybody didn't get out, they want to make sure they had a place to go home to. hayward joshua was the man father down. dodging torpedoes. angling around the torpedoes. his a planner, he had to get them up all the time. he didn't want to run into them. people would have known and they told somebody. >> [inaudible question] >> good question. i would there be this on this one woman?
did they think it's so strange that she disappeared? she became known. there was writing, she made speeches in boston. a great risk. that's when thomas said she goes back and when she's hot, she'll be burned alive. they criticized, parents, her parents by this time a former biography on this, had free at the end. they got their freedom. she went back and you might think, they were already free. why go back? then you have to think through what fiction does and you don't do that when you write nonfiction. you think what my mom and dad were down there. i know you all get by yourself. i just have to go down and get them myself.
mom, dad, you've got to come. which is what she did. she did, we don't know the exact part, there was different customers. it's not quite clear how high it was but it's quite clear she was a wanted woman. she was a master of disguise. again, how does a woman get away with it? she was tiny. she acted like an old person. people never respect age when they rob banks. [laughter] she played what was worth. even so, people come to know that somebody was doing this. >> [inaudible question]
>> one of my favorite people, dear to my heart, i wrote about women there. two very good questions. wasn't the government under obligation to return and escape? there was war. so the union wasn't really doing that at that time. there was a lot of flux and policy. david hunter, he wrote think saying we freed everybody. you are free now. he in the next month. backup. that's why they use the term
contraband. contraband was a legal fiction that allowed you to keep the present because otherwise, they could be used by the enemy. to put mines in the rivers. devolving alligators. all kinds of other things during the war. so the union was writing it by line. anybody in a secessionist state was definitely presidential order not by congress. being from maryland, a loyal state of union. i've probably forgotten the second question, you, what happened "afterwards"? this is a neat story. a wonderful i can't wait to read it. historian african-american history, she's written about the people.
she used records of the u.s. army to search what happened, they call themselves the police. they were a large collection of refugees. they build small houses for these people and identify community people are like i'm one of them. we always distinguish ourselves from somebody else. so they were originally very proud. they were free and became free people as many of them said. harriet tubman in the south, they did become south. there was his home, they leave behind so many things. are doing okay? so anyway, yes. >> [inaudible question]
>> she was illiterate. i do believe that personal, historians. thank you. nonfiction is a book about the court. another nonfiction book as well. i think people like to read different things. some people are like just the facts, ma'am. don't make anything up. i want just the facts. fine. nonfiction. some people want to go to the beach or read in the bathtub and i think for my mom, sadly passed away a couple of months ago but my mother liked my books. they were always very well tested. novel that i caught her feeding one of my books. i think some people like that. [laughter] i should mention, my husband
came, he is a documentary filmmaker. i collaborate on that as well. we have a film, if you go to your pdf app, download and lookup cyber work. we had one that came out this week about the history of artificial, history work in the history of work. that's why a novel for harriet tubman first two know what happened. i like to try to elucidate what might have happened in her life. did she have a daughter? okay some say yes. but we don't know. fiction allows us to make a claim about it. and see what that might have felt like. many historians believe she did have a daughter that she initially had to leave behind. and then later went back for her. i don't want to not, if you're
in the balcony, asked me your questions. >> [inaudible question]. >> did i do any oral histories? talk to her family today. i did not. a couple of reasons. oral histories are always a bit what happened before, changed our memories and motivations. you have multiple generations then you really are getting more. not getting closer to fact.
she does have family, don't know if she has any living, she had nieces and nephews, some of them still live in new york. i never met her. every sunday. harriet dies in 91. study long-lived family. i did not speak with family descendents, i hope they read it. they key for the question. >> [inaudible question] >> that's probably also from a military person. she was called general top and general tubman by john brown.
she had no military rank but he felt she should have. he would have named her one of his generals. she is supposed to go along in the raid. he wanted her to. he wanted douglas to go as well. although douglas did not have the same kind of extract that harriet tubman did in the field that harriet tubman had. she was unable to go. we don't know why. one source said she felt ill and unable to go and we don't know why. i'm glad she did not. other questions? right here in the middle. >> [inaudible question]
>> thank you. especially for your service. thank you. what a lovely splice voice the speaker had. she was a very good singer. i also want to say she was very funny. thomas spoke to a number of audiences and said she could make people laugh and cry. nice thing to know about her. in connection to previous books,
i was dumbfounded but here i am talking again about another woman veterans. women of civil war, a kind of back into that connection. to be honest, i had in mind several books, couple of ideas cooking and harriet tubman was one of them. after the election of 2016, one thing i observed about that election was how hard it is for a woman to be a leader ...
i don't know, i just thought this thing. it made me feel that whatever we can do as americans, she gave to congress. western better than that and the things that we can do to remind us that we are better, people like harriet tubman were better, that america has courage, quest for freedom that runs through all of us and that someone like
harriet tubman represents the best of us. thank you. i think the book is coming out. [applause] >> if you buy a book, by the way, i'm happy to inscribe them to you or anybody else outside. [inaudible conversations] >> book tv covers over 25 book fairs and festivals each year. at the recent tucson festival, historical weighed in on compromise in american politics. >> henry clay himself was called the great compromiser and in his day that was, indeed, a high complement, henry clay was the
architect of the missouri compromise of 1820 that plit the louisiana purchase between free knot and slave south. author of the compromise of 1833 that kept south carolina in the union when the south carolinans were threatening to succeed over a tariff that they didn't like. when i was writing the book, there was a lot of time that i was thinking about having to explain and motivate interest in the tariffs. it was a top that i can although 2 years ago had been in american politics in 1930's, i do have one thing to thank president trump for, compromise of 1850 held the union together again over threats by south carolina and other southern states of admission of california to united states as free state.
one of the lessons that i take away from this, when ben benjamn franklin said a republic if you can keep it, the spirit of compromised exemplified by henry clay and spirit of compromised died after henry clay and webster and calhoun. within 10 years the nation was at civil war, we live in a time to call somebody a great compromisers, seems lack of conviction, you don't believe in what you say. some has to do with the fact that we have a president -- we have political system dominated by the presidency and that's the executive branch rather than legislative branch. but and far for me to predict that there is another civil war
but i will say this, when you live in a time when compromise is considered surrender and political opponents are treated as your political enemies, then our republic doesn't work very well. so i hope that something will happen to get us back on the track where we can say once again, that a compromise can be a good thing. i'm not seeing a lot of it but i am keeping my fingers crossed. >> type author's name in the search bar at top of the page. >> up next on book tv afterwards, sanford university professor offers insight to racial bias, interviewed by democratic congressman from florida. relevant guest hosts, reviewing oh --