Confederate Slave Impressments
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5 partly-printed Confederate impressment receipts issued to Alabama and South Carolina slave owners, documenting the use of slave labor. [CIVIL WAR SLAVERY].
Manuscript Documents [Columbia & Charleston, SC, as well as AL, 1863–1864]. 1 p. each.
-- 2 impressment receipts from Columbia, S.C., paying the owners $1,000 each for “Henry” and “Tom,” “lost by reason of the employment of the said slave by the authorities of the Confederate Government upon the military fortifications of this State.”
-- an 1863 receipt from Charleston providing $1,800 compensation for “George” and his “service on the coast.”
-- a single receipt from the State of Alabama compensates the owner for the labor of one unnamed slave, to be paid out at a rate of $1 day for the 40 days of work
-- a receipt issued by Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, recording the impressment of slaves (listed alongside club axes, spades and bacon), from a schedule of “Property Impressed.”
As the war continued to drain Confederate resources, slaves were taken from their owners for discrete periods of time, a practice called impressment. Slaves were assigned to demanding, but strategically significant labor projects, such as roads, fortifications, and breastworks.