Civil War Reconstruction Essay

2376 WordsJun 15, 201510 Pages
Written Assignment #10 1. What actions were taken by freed blacks once the war ended and why was landownership so important to them? Freedmen was the term given to those slaves who became free men after the U.S. Congress passed the Confiscation Act of 1862. Under this act, Confederates who did not surrender within 60 days of the act's passage were to be punished by having their slaves freed. It also dealt with a problem that had plagued field commanders occupying Southern territory. As troops advanced, slaves sought refuge in Union camps, and Federal commanders were confused over their obligations to the refugees. Some freed the slaves, other sent them back to their master for lack of means to care for them. The Confiscation Act declared all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines captives of war who were to be set free. The Act essentially paved the way for the Emancipation Proclamation and solved the immediate dilemma facing the army concerning the status of slaves within its jurisdiction. After this act was passed, thousands of Southern slaves became "freedmen. Though they had eagerly awaited their liberators, freedom was accompanied by frightening uncertainties. Homeless, with few possessions, blacks fleeing to Union lines for protection found themselves as dependent on the Federal government for their existence as they had been on their masters. But Washington issued no concrete policy concerning their welfare, and field commanders saddled with caring for the refugees resorted to various means of providing them with food, shelter, and clothing. Many freedmen, herded into contraband camps, were hired out to loyal Unionist plantation owners for low wages, and others in the Western theater were assigned parcels of confiscated lands for subsistence farming. Still others rendered service to the army. Unaccustomed to

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