Digital History

The Civil War

Slaves' Role in Their Own Liberation Previous Next
Digital History ID 3090



Slaves played a critical role in their own liberation. Southern slaves deserted plantations and fled to Union lines. Slaves also staged a few small insurrections during the war as the slave system itself began to unravel. Planters were stunned to see trusted house slaves and field drivers lead field hands in deserting to the Union army. Eventually, 150,000 former slaves fought as soldiers in the Union army.

The plantation system of labor and discipline was beginning to break down in the face of protracted war.

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