A slave related this story to a member of the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts regiment, while at Newbern:

“I was owned up the country (the western part of the State) by a man who had a large plantation, and four or five hundred slaves. I was well used, every way, by him, and one day he told me to carry a letter to a man in Raleigh. I knew this man was a speculator in slaves, and I was suspicious that all was not right; but I could not believe my master would deceive me; so I started. On my way, I met a free colored man that I was acquainted with, and he could read. I told him where I was going, and for what. He asked to see the letter. It was not sealed, and he took it out and read it to me. It was a bill of sale, and I was one of the lot; and we were sold to go to Alabama. My master had taken this way to deliver me, rather than have a ‘scene,’ as it is termed; and this speculator was to seize me upon my appearance, and send me South. I had rather have died than gone; so, after thinking it over, and consulting my colored friend, I, with his help, got a couple of knives and a good rifle, a few clothes and some provisions, and took to the bush (woods and swamps), where I could defy pursuit. There I lived and suffered seven years, relying upon my trusty rifle for food, and got so expert that I could kill a coon or bear at forty rods every time. (Bears are, and were, somewhat numerous here in the swamp.)

“I heard when the war broke out, and heard when Burnside took Newbern; so I made tracks for the Union people, and when I came in here, I went straight to Burnside’s headquarters, and told him my story. He told me to take off my coat, which was nothing but rags, and he gave me one of his own coats, and called me a brave fellow.”

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I'm a lover of God and His Son Jesus Christ. In addition I love to make yesterday's words come alive through the republishing of good and profitable books of old. The Civil War project is an ongoing labor of love. - Karan
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