Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph

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Contents

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p. vii

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xii

This is the story of Abraham H. Galloway (1837–70), a fiery young slave rebel, radical abolitionist, and Union spy who rose out of bondage to become one of the most significant and stirring black leaders in the United States during the American Civil War. A freedom fighter in what the New Orleans Tribune, the first African...

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Prologue: New Bern, North Carolina, May 1863

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pp. xiii-xx

In the third year of the Civil Wa r, a New England abolitionist named Edward Kinsley walked the streets of New Bern, North Carolina. The seaport was usually a town of 5,500 inhabitants, but at that moment it overflowed with thousands of fugitive slaves who had escaped from the Confederacy. The setting was one...

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1 At River’s Edge

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pp. 1-12

Abraham Galloway grew up in a world that gazed out to the open sea. He was born on 8 February 1837 in a little hamlet of ship pilots and fishermen called Smithville.1 The village perched at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, twenty-eight miles downriver of Wilmington, North Carolina. At the time of Galloway’s birth, Smithville had a population of roughly 800 inhabitants, nearly half...

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2 The Secret Feelings of Their Hearts

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pp. 13-26

In early 1857, young Abraham Galloway vowed to depart the world of his childhood. At twenty years old, he had lived by the banks of the Cape Fear River all his life and had never traveled more than a day’s journey from his friends and family in Smithville and Wilmington. But that spring he and a friend grew determined, they later explained, “that liberty was worth dying for, and that...

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3 A Second John Brown

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pp. 27-42

Galloway did not reside peac efully in Kingston and lay bricks for very long. After his escape from bondage and his arrival in Canada West, he threw himself into the struggle to end slavery in the United States. Between 1857 and 1861, as the United States moved closer and closer to disunion and war, he traveled through some of the darkest, most dangerous corners of the continent’s...

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4 Spies All Their Lives

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pp. 43-57

Galloway arrived in New York City from Port-au-Prince on 1 April 1861, less than two weeks before the shelling of Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War.1 Immediately, according to James Redpath, he headed into the southern states. Redpath’s incendiary assessment of Galloway’s purpose— “to go South to incite insurrections”— stirred up images of a torch-wielding Nat Turner or John...

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5 They Will Fight to the Death

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pp. 58-82

A long way from the Mississippi River, a very different scene was unfolding along the salt marshes and quiet bays of the North Carolina coast. Brigadier General Ambrose Burnside’s forces had carved out a long slice of the state’s coastline running 100 miles north to south that would remain in Union hands for the war’s final three years. By taking such a vast territory, Burnside’s armada opened...

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6 My Harte Over Run with Joy

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pp. 83-98

When Edward Kinsley boarded the Union steamer Dudley Buck for his voyage home, he must have been both exhilarated and relieved. His mission to aid the recruitment of black soldiers in New Bern had seemed bound to fail until he met Abraham Galloway and his compatriots and agreed to their conditions. Almost instantly, his work in New Bern blossomed. Only a few days before...

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7 The Death of a Hero

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pp. 99-114

Although no longer a Union spy, Galloway continued to travel deep into the Confederacy at least occasionally during the fall of 1863. His contacts behind enemy lines remained extensive even after he turned his attention to black recruitment and political organizing. The far-flung nature of his connections can be measured by his success that November, in Brigadier General...

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8 The Meeting with Lincoln

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pp. 115-127

Galloway carried that fire to the White House in the spring of 1864. On 29 April he led a delegation of black southerners to a meeting with President Lincoln. This extraordinary moment grew out of months of grassroots organizing and indicated a significant shift in the freedpeople’s political priorities. With thousands of former slaves already serving in the Union army, Galloway had...

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9 Their Path to Freedom

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pp. 128-137

On a lovely summer day in New Bern, Galloway watc hed the mustering of the 1st North Carolina Colored Heavy Artillery, one of the African American regiments recruited primarily among the local slaves who had managed to reach Union lines.1 The scene inspired him to write— or, presumably, to dictate to a literate colleague— his impressions of the black soldiers and their families and...

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10 God’s Free Man

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pp. 138-157

As Galloway took his seat among the 144 delegat es at the National Convention of Colored Men of the United States on 4 October 1864, he cut a compelling figure and carried a special kind of moral authority. The convention assembled at Syracuse’s Wesleyan Methodist Church at seven o’clock that evening. Galloway’s appearance and the arrival of the small contingent of other...

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11 Soldiers of the Cross

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pp. 158-168

When he returned to New Bern, Galloway discovered what one distraught eyewitness called “a city of the dead.” The yellow fever epidemic had passed with the coming of the first hard frost, but grief and loss now burdened nearly every family.1 At the same time, the streets churned with new refugees, orphaned children, and the sick. As the power of the Confederacy crumbled, new waves...

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12 In This Land We Will Remain

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pp. 169-188

Less than two weeks after the Emancipat ion Da y celebrat ion in New Bern, Union forces finally captured Fort Fisher. Not long after, they occupied Smithville, the village of Galloway’s birth. The fall of Fort Fisher gave the Union control over the Cape Fear River and cut off the Confederacy’s last major supply line...

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13 Loud Calls for Galloway

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pp. 189-212

Abraham and Martha Ann Galloway left the home of Martha Ann’s parents in Beaufort and moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, sometime after the Raleigh freedpeople’s convention in the fall of 1865. The move marked the beginning of a kind of political exile for him. After the convention’s delegates chose...

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Epilogue

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pp. 213-218

Galloway died unexpectedly on 1 September 1870 at his mother’s home in Wilmington. Most reports indicate that he succumbed to “fever and jaundice,” but many years later his wife, Martha Ann, recalled that he had long suffered from chronic rheumatism and “heart troubles.”1 One of his obituaries refers to a lingering...

Notes

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pp. 219-282

Bibliography

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pp. 283-306

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 307-308

Many scholars contributed to my research on Abraham Galloway’s life and world. I especially want to thank Steve Kantrowitz at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Thanayi Jackson at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland–College Park, and Chris Meekins and the late...

Index

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pp. 309-326