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African-American slave defects with his Confederate dispatch boat from Charleston Harbor

Robert Smalls, circa 1862, detail
05/13/1862
Robert Smalls, a slave and the pilot aboard the 313 ton Confederate side-wheeler dispatch boat Planter, waited till her white captain visited ashore and then in the early hours of the morning, with the African-American crew, steamed the vessel out of Charleston Bay, picking up family members on the way. The defectors surrendered the Planter to the USS Onward of the blockading Federal fleet and subsequently received a portion of prize money for this, the first Confederate naval vessel captured in the Civil War.  Smalls later served in the U.S. Congress.  (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Frank Moore, ed., The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, Etc. (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1863), V: 132.

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How to Cite This Page: "African-American slave defects with his Confederate dispatch boat from Charleston Harbor," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/11831.