It was a singular spectacle, that immense column of every color and ever possible description, that drew out of camp on Wednesday, the 15th of March, and set out for Wilmington via Clinton. There were 4,500, mostly negroes, from my wing alone.
Major General Oliver Otis Howard to Major L.M. Dayton, Assistant Adjutant General, Military Division of the Mississippi, U.S. Army. Howard was reporting on the status of refugees who had joined with Union forces near Columbia, S.C. and were being moved from an encampment near Fayetteville.
The report is included on the website Visualizing Emancipation, produced at the University of Richmond. As the site’s creators describe it, Visualizing Emancipation “organizes documentary evidence about when, where, and how slavery fell apart during the American Civil War.” An interactive map ties the locations of “emancipation events” to excerpts describing the incidents in books, official documents, newspaper accounts, diaries and letters.