Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1861. First Edition. Sheet Music. Complete: 6 pages including the cover. The cover shows a white overseer, whip in hand, threatening four young male slaves. Slightly trimmed and with nice corners and old tape binding so probably from an old bound collection of sheet music. No rips, tears, writing, or other markings. Light marginal soiling. Very Good. Item #007953
Dedicated to Major General Benjamin Butler, who at the time was the Commanding Officer of Fort Monroe in Hampton Roads, Virginia. In early 1861, three slaves, who had been working as laborers building defense-works in nearby Norfolk, snuck across the bay and presented themselves at Fort Monroe. Butler refused to return the slaves in accordance with the federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 maintaining that since Virginia had seceded from the Union there was no legal requirement to do so. With time, other escaped slaves began reporting to Union forces, and by August they were being officially identified as "contraband," an old naval term that referred to smuggled goods.