Self-Emancipated Blacks Behind Union Lines
Original Author: James F. Gibson
Created: May 14, 1862
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; one half of stereograph
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Self-Emancipated Blacks Behind Federal Lines

On May 14, 1862, a group of formerly enslaved men, women, and children gather outside a building on the Foller Plantation, located at Cumberland Landing on the Pamunkey River in New Kent County. During the Peninsula Campaign of the Civil War, photographer James F. Gibson made a series of images of the Federal troop encampment at the landing. Among those glass-plate negatives is this portrait of so-called contrabands, or enslaved people who had emancipated themselves by fleeing behind Union lines.