The Domestic Slave Trade
Exporters and Importers
Modes of Transportation
The Victims of the trade
The Slave traders
The National Debate
The End of the Domestic Slave trade

Match phrase exactly
Any of these words
Image ID search
< The National DebateBibliography >

The displacement of enslaved men, women, and children continued, despite much disruption, until near the very end of the Civil War, although exportation from Maryland, Missouri, Kentucky, and Delaware - all remained in the Union - was significantly reduced. Prices, expressed in constant dollars, rather than the highly inflated Confederate currency, declined dramatically. When New Orleans fell in 1862, a major urban market was lost to the trade. But the "Negro speculators" were nothing if not resourceful. Henry Badgett had been moving people from North Carolina to Georgia since the 1840s and was still reporting good profits in 1863. In Savannah, one leading trader described by contemporaries as "a bitter old rebel" did not evacuate his "human stock" until General Sherman’s army approached the city in December 1864.

In Virginia, the Omohundro brothers, Silas and R. F., supplied people to traders operating out of Richmond until at least 1863, as did the auctioneer, Hector Davis. In late 1863, E. H. Stokes was still buying people in Virginia and selling them in Georgia. But the dubious distinction of dancing the terrible institution’s last waltz probably belongs to veteran trader Robert Lumpkin. In April 1865, Charles Carleton Coffin, traveling with the advancing Union Army days before the fall of Richmond, found Lumpkin "shipping out fifty men, women and children. This sad and weeping fifty, in handcuffs and chains were [he declared] the last slave coffle that ever shall tread the soil of America."

Ironically, the greatest significance of the trade was, in the long term, positive. This inhuman traffic did not succeed in crushing its victims. The enslaved were not just victims but people who resisted.

Epilogue:  Southern History and the Slave TradeSoul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave MarketEpilogue: Southern History and the Slave Trade from Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market by Walter Johnson

They clung to a sense of family and developed life-saving and heritage-preserving coping devices against a hostile white world. They learned to value themselves and their families in a society that looked upon them with loathing.

Two family lettersFamilies and Freedom: A Documentary History of African-American kinship in the Civil War EraTwo family letters from Families and Freedom: A Documentary History of African-American kinship in the Civil War Era

And they learned to build a community that would grow into an extraordinarily dynamic and creative force in the nation through which they were moved in chains.

< The National Debate
Bibliography >