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[Detail] Bill and Ellen Thomas, Ages 88 and 81

Historical Analysis and Interpretation: Comparing Contradictory Stories

The collection includes a number of contradictory stories of reactions to Union forces when they marched onto plantations.  Alice Baugh and Lewis Evans,  for example, related sympathy for Southerners and described looting and pillaging by unruly Union soldiers.  Others, such as 88-year-old Katie Rowe, told a different story.  

Conduct a full-text search using the keywords Yankees or Union army to locate interviews in which people reported on the response to Union soldiers.  Read several accounts providing different perspectives. Look for factors that may have influenced the way in which enslaved people responded to the Union army.  What factors may account for the different perspectives expressed in these narratives?  If you were to write an article about enslaved people’s responses to the Union army’s advance through the South, how would you use these different perspectives?