Harriet Tubman (American National Biography)

Scholarship
Margaret Washington, "Tubman, Harriet," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00707.html.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 forced Tubman to transport newly emancipated groups into Canada-West (now Ontario), placing them "under the paw of the British lion" since England had abolished enslavement. Routes from Canada to Maryland depended on the exigency of the moment. Tubman's favorite route, also the most dangerous because of proslavery attitudes, was the Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania circuit, where Thomas Garrett, a Delaware Quaker, was her main contact. Her staunchest supporters were on the Central New York Road, where she met abolitionists Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, Oliver Johnson, and Reverend J. W. Loguen, as well as future suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.In 1858 Tubman met archrevolutionary John Brown, whose radical, military fiber matched hers. Together they plotted the Harpers Ferry raid, but illness prevented Tubman's participation. In 1860 she successfully led a bloody battle regarding an escaped bondsman in Troy, New York.

The Civil War found Tubman condemning a reluctant President Abraham Lincoln, agitating for immediate emancipation, and spending 1862 in Union-occupied areas nursing white soldiers and black "contrabands" injured while fleeing enslavement. In 1863, when blacks joined the military, Tubman hand-picked and commanded a black corps of spies, scouts, and river pilots who conducted daring surveillance, espionage, and intelligence operations throughout the southeastern seaboard. She strategized and guided a band of black soldiers (under Colonel James Montgomery) into the Confederate-held Combahee, South Carolina, region and successfully disabled their supply line.
How to Cite This Page: "Harriet Tubman (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/17786.