African-Americans Captured by Kilpatrick’s Cavalry

A Battlefield Tidbit

During the Pennsylvania Campaign of 1863, several thousand African-Americans were captured and sent south as “contraband.” During the retreat from Gettysburg, at least 3,000 African-Americans were sent through Monterey Pass on July 4th as part of General Richard Ewell’s wagon train.

On July 5th at the base of South Mountain at Waterloo (near Rouzerville today), as the Battle of Monterey Pass came to a climax several black teamsters as well as cooks that belonged to the Richmond Howitzers were captured by the Union Cavalry under the command of General Judson Kilpatrick.

The book entitled “Contributions to a History of the Richmond Howitzer Battalion” published in the 1880’s by Carlton McCarthy has an interesting story about the African-Americans who were captured by Kilpatrick. This portion of the book is from “A diary of the war,” by W.S. White and can be found on page 213.

“A few of our Negro cooks, who were with our wagon train when it was captured by the enemy, escaped and returned to camp today. Certainly they were the happiest fellows I ever saw and were greeted with loud cheers by our men. A chance for freedom they had, but they preferred life and slavery in Dixie to liberty at the North.”

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