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tv   Slavery to Freedom at Appomattox  CSPAN  June 24, 2018 10:00am-10:18am EDT

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one after another, and it isso y are equal for desertion. from pennsylvania, follow up on that answer to the previous question, could you name the top resources you used for your research on this topic? jonathan: primarily i used the court-martial records which collated -- they are great because army regulations demanded they be kept in precise and pristine condition and betide together neatly and talked away. they are easy sources, but there are a ton of them. but is what i have used for this research and most of the stories with the exception of jane come from the court-martial records. i use collected works from a number of historians who have gathered all these letters from african-americans writing to and from their families, then i have also used the journals and
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diaries from white officers. new england, i have gone out to a number of the historical societies in new england were a lot of soldiers came from. i used to their diaries were they talk about desertion and mutiny and disciplining their soldiers. >> thank you. fromam david herrman massachusetts. i am curious to know whether or not, and which inducements were made to people when they were enlisting, specifically were promises of freedom made, or in the case of already freed blacks, was anything close to citizenship promised? jonathan: right. so free black northerners, no promises were made, and they were participating in large part because they hoped it would be earned. douglas was speaking about this
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in a letter to stanton. he said something like african-american men can achieve freedom and even if the promise is not made now, we hope to be able to achieve freedom and citizenship because of service to the nation being an integral part of citizenship in the united states area goes promises were made, but there were also monetary promises. in the south, soldiers were told they would be free, but there were officers who told their men they were not free until after they had fulfilled their service. there is a gray area whether or not they became free. tensionshere these come from, whether or not the soldiers think they are free and whether the officer takes they are the is where these desertions and mutinies come from. >> you mentioned the sense among black soldiers of personal emancipation and reasons for
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leaving. my understanding is among many of the white soldiers there was a sense of personal freedom and duty to family was very similar. how could you or would you differentiate between those two concepts? jonathan: this is something i wrestle with a lot because they are so similar. on the surface they seem like they are leaving for the same exact reasons. the difference for me is the context in which they come. so in a classic study of desertion, where she concentrates on white soldiers, she has a flu -- a few on black soldiers, she talks about independence board in 19th century men led them to think they could leave. over the course of war they developed a sense of military duty that kept them in service and make them understand, where they started to appreciate what becoming a soldier was.
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there was never an ideal soldier. they kind of learn through that. soldiers similarly were soldiers in becoming, learning about what they were doing at who they were supposed to be. the major difference was these men had come from enslavement, so they were fighting against a context in which it seemed as though it was enslavement versus violation of liberation. >> you mentioned many of the usct deserters returning to their families in the south. are there cases of them being enslaved by the previous masters? jonathan: repeat it. >> you mentioned there were questions of them returning back to the south, and were there cases of those men being rias lived in the south? jonathan: yes. sometimes they are forcibly enslaved, and other times verbally enforced to stay
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behind. one former slaveholder after his former slave returned from the army to help out his wife, the master basically threatened and said i will hurt your wife if you do not take and help me cultivate these crops. they were enslaved in part. whether the soldier made it to freedom is unclear, but they were enslaved for a bit of time. last question. >> james of williamsburg, virginia. yesterday wilson green mentioned general benjamin butler favor troops in his.ct operation north of the river. have you noticed any correlation between how the troops were used in desertions? -- and desertions? butler's attack on harrison and gilmer, all of those forks were landmine protected.
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it seems benjamin butler always put usct troops in the front when he protect a landmine that attacked a landmine protected fort. jonathan: no direct correlations between the way they were used and desertion, but late in the when the circumstances change in 1865 and 1866 as the war and army transitioned to peace, these soldiers are being moved to texas. they are often growing angry because they are being forced to leave their families behind. so the ways in which they are being used now, being sent away from their families had made them want to state rebellions or dessert and see their families. thank you all very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer 2: you are watching
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live coverage of the gettysburg summer conference on c-span3's "american history tv." after the break we are back with brooks simpson of arizona state university who will talk about president abraham lincoln and his relationship with two of his commanding generals. for the next -- for the next 10 minutes, our c-span cities tour takes you on the road to feature the history of an american city. >> i am standing and perhaps one of the most famous courthouses in the united states where really nothing of significance happened, appomattox courthouse. the name is confusing. courthouse is one building behind me and is situated at appomattox courthouse, which is a village. appomattox court house, the
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village is important because it is where the general surrendered to ulysses, bringing about an end, the end of the civil war. this town has a lot of history for its size. today we would like to talk a little bit about why appomattox courthouse is so famous. we would like to spend time about untold stories. the courthouse is a village complete with a tavern, stores, lawyers offices and homes. it was not more than 130, 140 people in 1865. it is an unlikely place for the two large military forces to --t you generally's armie meat. the south and the north. soldiers in a00 six mile radius. unlikely because it is not where either army wanted to be, but it is where they ended up.
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as fate would have it for general lee, his army was surrounded by general grant's forces. on the morning of palm sunday, april 9, 1865, general lee, around 1:30, would meet general grant at the mclean house, one of the nicer upper-middle-class homes in the village. they would meet in the parlor of that home to discuss and agree on terms of the surrender of the army of northern virginia, effectively bringing about the end of the war. that is a crucial story, nationally significant and no doubt the reason this has been designated a national historic site. there are plenty of untold stories. over 150 years, many people have referred to appomattox as the place where a nation reunited. for students of history, we struggle with that idea. if that were true, the 150 years
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that have followed the civil war don't make a lot of sense. in fact during the centennial, the 100 anniversary of the ending of the civil war, a tremendous celebration took .lace here marking the occasion meanwhile the schools in appomattox county and many across the state are still not even integrated. appomattox was still five years away from integration in 1970. why isn't it the place where a nation reunited? part of the story starts with a large fields behind me. something a lot of people don't realize about appomattox court house is there were two battles fought here. general lee's decision was not arbitrary. he was brought to that because the military realities that surrounded him. in the field behind me on the morning of april 9, the battle was fought. roughly 9000 confederates
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engaged a large federal force that eventually would put over 20,000 soldiers on this field behind me. during this battle that raged on in the morning of april 9, there was one known civilian casualties. it was a woman named hannah reynolds. like 52% of all human beings that lived in appomattox county, she was enslaved. she was enslaved by dr. samuel coleman. she lived in a home one mile to the west of where i am standing in the epicenter of the battlefield. she was very unfortunate to be hit by a confederate artillery shell that morning. she was attended to by surgeons infantryeighth maine unit. she was able to survive another three days. she died april 12, that wednesday. int is a very important date the history of appomattox
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because it was on this road i am standing on on april 12 that confederate infantry stacked their arms and flags and ammunition all along this road. you can say the individual confederate soldier actually surrendered on this road, not in the parlor of the house. hannah reynolds dying on april 12 meant in a way she was wounded as an enslaved woman and three daysancipated later. that is a powerful notion that really struck this park and its visitors in 2015. it has given us cause to explore this story and others like it more deeply. what did happen in this village, and throughout the south in the weeks and months that followed the surrender? in history it seems to be a good idea to ask the question so what ?
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generally -- general lee surrendered, so what. the army of northern virginia would fight no more. that is big. what about the enslaved population of appomattox and the rest of virginia? what was their future? what about lower and middle class whites that did not own slaves but would be deeply affected by what was about to happen? we will go to the other end of the village, and we will visit the kelly house that could be known as the robinson house and explore a story here in the village that sheds some light on the national significance of what happened after the surrender. here on the eastern edge of the village of appomattox courthouse, we find a contrasting building. behind me is a home known as the kelly house at the time of the surrender. unlike the mclean house,
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upper-middle-class home, 3300 square feet, perfect for the surrender meeting, the kelly house far more represents what most people around appomattox county and virginia would have lived in in the mid-1860's. it is down here we find an excellent example of an untold story. we talked about hannah reynolds after the war. unfortunately she passed away from wounds received during the final battle. at the kelly house on the eastern end of the village, we find an example of what happened next after the surrender. the kelly house was completed in 1855. the family was a large one. there were five sons in this family and all five fought in the war for the army of northern virginia. at least one and maybe two of them were here for the surrender in their own home town on april 9, stacking of arms on april 12, 1865. in the years that followed the
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war, eventually this was purchased by john robinson. we don't know a great deal about his early life, but this is a good example of what emancipated looked like in the weeks and years that followed the surrender. perhaps two of the most tangible examples of emancipation that you would have seen on the landscape that summer of 1965 would have been the development of a friedmans school, the legalization of black education, very much so a tangible evidence and the second would be the ability of black citizens of appomattox county to be able to form their own churches. many of these cases, these were people that were members of ironically integrated churches. at least physically integrated. the congregations were separated within, but it was larger white churches where black residents attended. they got permission to leave
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those churches and create their own. the first such church to be created here in appomattox county was galilee baptist church. one of the founding members of the church was john robinson. he was the first treasurer, trustee of the church. our understanding is in the months that followed, the congregation would form what was known as an arbor church, outside, under the trees. by 1867, the congregation had been able to form enough money and resources to build a log church that existed a mile to the west of the courthouse. about 50 years later in 1916, the new church would be built on those same grounds. that is the church that is still there today 100 years later. the story of john roberts is, notonly a -- robertson,
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only a homeowner and cofounder of a church but also a businessman. a pretty good shoe cobbler because he ran a business for more than 50 years. john robinson did not pass away until 1933 but after raising a large family, business and some of the family members are very in the backyard of the kelly/robinson house. so right here in the village of appomattox county, we can see that so what of the surrender. it unfolds before our very eyes. we have only had to look more deeply to see these untold stories. announcer 1: you can watch this and other programs on the history of communities across the country at this is "american history t"


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