Mar 26, 2015 - Sale 2377

Sale 2377 - Lot 130

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(CONTRABANDS.) Letter describing articles needed by the contrabands in Kansas, addressed to the Ladies' Contraband Aid Association in Rochester, New York, care of Mrs. Susan Porter. Folio leaf, folded to form four pages, written on all sides bottom of pages 3-4 clipped of approx. 1/4 inch, obscuring what seems to have been a signature. Leavenworth, Kansas, 2 May, 1862

Additional Details

a long and heartbreaking plea for aid and a virtual catalogue of human suffering beyond comprehension. The author of this letter asks for "All kinds of strong clothing for men, women, and children, mostly for men and children. There is not over one black woman to every five black man in the state of Kansas as it was more difficult for the females to get away from their masters than for the males. . . .Gen. Lane's Brigade and Col. Jenison's Regiment brought several thousand colored men, women, and children into Kansas and as many of them came here during the last fall and winter with but one ragged suit of clothes. They have suffered beyond description." She goes on to describe numerous cases of severe frostbite, amputation, and malnutrition. Weapons were needed to defend against a virtual army of kidnappers who haunted the periphery of the camps. Money was needed for medicine, as well as for expenses to bury the dead. "I have myself attended upon several hundred of the sick contrabands during the last three months and during that time I think I have witnessed more distress and want than I have in any five years of my life." She suggests they send stout butcher knives and revolvers and double barrel shotguns, "In my judgment Bowe or even large, stout butcher knives. . . are the surest weapon . . . as they never miss fire." She describes large numbers crossing the frozen Missouri River: "My God! What a sight to see women and children willing to risk everything for liberty." "Most of the Contrabands, even the oldest seem quite anxious to attend school." She recounts seeing a six year old girl teaching a group of six grown men.