Christopher Newport University

The Dean William Parks Colloquium Series - "How Three Black Sailors Changed Confederate Policy" - Dr. Lorien Foote

In the summer of 1863, three Black Union sailors held prisoner in Charleston, South Carolina, managed to smuggle a letter to the outside world. Their message challenged the United States War Department to do something to protect free-born Black soldiers and sailors from the Confederate government’s threat to try them in state courts for inciting servile insurrection. The War Department issued a retaliation order to protect these men. This lecture will tell the story of Black prisoners in South Carolina and how the retaliation ritual during the Civil War caused changes to Confederate policy.

Lorien Foote is the Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History at Texas A&M University. She is the author of four books, including The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners of War, which was a Choice Outstanding Academic Title; The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Manhood, Honor, and Violence in the Union Army, which was a finalist and honorable mention for the 2011 Lincoln Prize; and Seeking the One Great Remedy: Francis George Shaw and Nineteenth-Century Reform. She is the creator and principal investigator of the Digital Humanities Project Fugitive Federals, which visualizes the escape and movement of 3,000 Federal prisoners of war during the American Civil War.

For Inquiries, contact Dr. Jonathan White (

Monday, February 21 at 12:00pm to 12:50pm

Gaines Theatre

Event Type



Phi Beta Kappa, The Dean William Parks Colloquium Series, Gaines theatre

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