Mississippi Runaway Reaches the Union Navy
December 30, 1861
(C. V. Brooks)
Bearing on his back "a number of scars, running in different directions," a runaway slave reached the "Henry Lewis," blockading off Ship Island, Mississippi, on December 30, 1861. For the new arrival, as for numerous other slaves, a U.S. Navy ship must have been an exceedingly enticing destination.
Lieutenant Thomas McKean Buchanan, commanding the "Henry Lewis," described the runaway to Flag Officer William W. McKean, then heading the Gulf Blockading Squadron, soon divided into east and west counterparts. The National Archives in Washington, D.C., holds Lieutenant Buchanan's letter in its Navy Subject File, 1775-1910, Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group 45.
U. S. Steamer Lewis
Off Ship Island --
January 6th 1862
On the 30th of December 1861 while at the upper end of this Island, I got a contraband who had left Ocean Springs the night before--
He gives his name as Travers Drungold, and that of his master, as John H... n, Postmaster of Ocean Springs--
He is 5 ft 4 in in height, and has a number of scars, running in different directions, on his back which he says was done by whipping. He also has a burn on his right arm near the shoulder and one on his left near the elbow. He gives his age as about 49 years, and says he is a carpenter by trade. His master by his accounts is an Irishman and a rank secessionist--
I am respectfully
Yr. obdt Servt
Thos. McK[ean] Buchanan
Flag Officer Wm. W. McKean
Commd'g Gulf Blockading Squadron.
To request portfolios duplicating documents about your family or organization, write to C. V. Brooks, P.O. Box 23827, Washington, D.C. 20026-3827.
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