This chapter continues with the story of Edward and Emma Whitehurst, as well as thousands more enslaved people who fled to Fort Monroe and vicinity, and describes their efforts to secure work with the Union army in 1861 and 1862. It discusses the nature of their labor, from working as guides and spies for the army, to seeking positions as cooks, laundresses, nurses, and heavy laborers. And it describes how difficult it became for these refugees to secure compensation for their labor—as well as recognition of their right to own property. Not everyone in the Union army was willing to view refugees as free people who were entitled to participate in a free labor system. This led to a troubling sequence of events in late 1861 and well into 1862, in which the refugees protested the lack of wages and other harsh labor policies, the frequency of theft, and the impressment of men to work for the Union. Their outcry led to policy changes that involved compensating refugees more consistently for their work—but not before the Whitehursts themselves lost everything to marauding Union soldiers during the Peninsula Campaign.
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