More thoughts on Mercersburg and the Confederate seizing of whites and blacks

Posted on May 28, 2009 by

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This is something that I have thought about since I first saw the marker at Mercersburg

We know that white civilians (residents of the town) were seized in Mercersburg in October 1862 and sent South to POW camps. However, does anyone else find it interesting that the blacks seized in Mercersburg in 1863 (during the Gettysburg Campaign) were not treated in the same manner? Think about this a bit… this is interesting… there is talk about blacks being taken during the Gettysburg Campaign and being sent South, back into slavery… but is their evidence that they were put into slavery? Really, if someone has specific examples (individual stories of named Pennsylvania black civilians being sold into slavery after being sent South), please let me know as I am very curious about this now. Of the blacks listed on the marker in Mercersburg, I’ve only been able to track down “post-seizure” information about Amos Barnes, but he was not treated like the white civilians seized in October 1862 (I am not sure what happened to the others named, if treated in the same way, sent to a POW camp, or sold into slavery). Instead of being sent to a POW camp, Barnes was sent South (to Richmond) and put to work at Camp Winder. Why weren’t the whites treated in the same manner? On the other hand, if Barnes was treated in this manner, and not sold into slavery, why were other blacks seized during the Gettysburg Campaign sent South and sold into slavery? Obviously, it took some effort to get Barnes “released,” therefore, he was a “captive,” but he wasn’t sold into slavery. Please understand, I’m not trying to downplay the terror and shock that blacks must have felt upon being seized and sent South, but in the stories of blacks being sent South and sold back into slavery, are we dealing with “shuffled” or “exagerated” Civil War memory?

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