Fugitive Slaves Escaping to Union Lines, 1864


Edwin Forbes, Life Studies of the Great Army. A historical work of art, in copper-plate etching . . .illustrating the life of the Union Armies during the years 1862-'3-'4'-5 (New York, E. Forbes, 1876), plate 30 (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)


Captioned Coming into the Lines, shows a wagon containing what may be a family escaping to the Union lines during the Civil War. Such fugitive slaves were called contrabands. A barefoot man, carrying a banjo, leads the animals drawing the wagon, and a teenage (?) boy with what appears to be an unusual hat sits atop one of the animals; two white Union soldiers on the left. This engraving, based on a sketch by Forbes (which differs slightly from the published engraving), first appeared in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (vol. 18 [1864], p. 340); see Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (LC-USZ62-88806).

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