Matt Gallman’s Stone Soup Discussions

Over at Civil War Memory Matt Gallman has made another appearance in the comments section.  This time he’s responding to a post by Kevin Levin concerning the process of emancipation sparked by another post (you know how this works) from Don Shaffer at Civil War Emancipation about how Benjamin F. Butler chose to treat the arrival of several fugitive slaves who sought protection (and freedom).  The cagey Butler eventually responded to the situation in front of him by classifying the blacks in question as contraband of war, thus effectively transferring their ownership to the United States of America (which is not the same thing as granting them freedom).  Butler’s solution provided the legal rationale for the First Confiscation Act, passed by Congress in August 1861, only a few weeks after Congress had declared that the sole object of the war was reunion.

That in itself is an interesting story, but Continue reading