The Richmond Slave Trail: Richmond and the Slave Trade
by Philip J. Schwarz
[The following essay on the slave trade in Richmond, Virginia was written by Dr. Philip J. Schwarz, Professor Emeritus of History, Virginia Commonwealth University, and a member of the Richmond Slave Trail Commission]
Every day and night, thousands and thousands of car and truck drivers and passengers on Interstate 95 pass by and over the slave trading sites of Richmond’s Shockoe bottom, as well as the nearby Burial Ground for Negroes. City dwellers do the same, all year long. Yet the systemized oppression of slavery, which was legitimized or ignored by many white Richmonders and other Virginians, has been largely forgotten. Fortunately there are efforts in progress to memorialize slavery’s victims in Richmond. Figuratively it is necessary to listen to the “screaming souls” who lived in the slave jails,--one “place of sighs” or “place of bitter memories” after another--for a few days or even months before they were shipped away to the Deep South and a menacing future, separated from family and home.1
Many white Richmonders and other Virginians benefited from three slave trading patterns during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The first source of enslaved Africans was the Middle Passage from West Africa to Virginia, which originated in the early seventeenth century and continued to 1775. While there is no record of any transatlantic slave ship coming directly to Richmond, Richmonders could still buy newly imported Africans through middlemen who negotiated with slave ship captains at Bermuda Hundred, or by becoming second or third purchasers through extended trading. Richmond whites could also buy more and more enslaved Africans as eastern and northern Virginia owners divested themselves of “surplus” laborers in response to changing agricultural practices and markets. Finally, by the first decade of the nineteenth century, white Richmonders—and, of course, numerous other white Virginians—could sell their “surplus” people to Richmond slave traders, who in turn would sell such uprooted and socially undermined men, women, and children to economically hungry interstate slave traders whose market was the burgeoning Deep South.
The First Middle Passage
From the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, at least 11 million Africans were forcibly carried away from their families and homelands and thrust through the Middle Passage (the Atlantic slave) to Virginia and many other Western Hemisphere locations. One index of the Middle Passage horrors is that the estimated number of people who died en route is at least 1 million.2 It is certain that many other Africans died when they fought back against the African, European, and American slave catchers while being taken to ports used by European slavers, while they were “stockpiled” in large buildings such as the Elmina Castle, or during coastal rebellions. Although it is difficult to determine exactly how many Africans died under these circumstances, given the longevity of the African slave trade—from the 1500s to the 1800s—the number must have been in the millions.3
British and American slave ships manned by merchant-captains and sailors transported at least 78,000 men, women, and children to Virginia. Given that some records are missing, the Virginia total may in fact be 100,000. These forced migrants originated in “Africa east and south of the Bight of Benin, from the Bight of Biafra (present-day eastern Nigeria) and West Central Africa (termed Kongo and Angola in contemporary sources.)” Old Dominion traders and slave owners bought at least 30 percent of all Africans imported to North America. South Carolina is the only North American colony that imported more enslaved Africans than did the Old Dominon.4 Virginia’s enslaved population was the largest of any colony or state from the mid-1700s to 1865. This often unnoticed demographic fact reflects the rate of economic development and forced immigration, to be sure. But equally important was “an unprecedented event for any New World population,” that is, the enslaved Virginia population was unique in its natural increase—surely a mixed blessing for the many enslaved parents at the same time that it benefited many white Virginians.5
The slave trading business in colonial Virginia was quite diffuse. There was no central Virginia port for slave ships to enter. (In contrast, South Carolina’s main port of entry was Charleston.) Instead the James and other Virginia rivers were primary entrance routes and places of sale where European-American slave traders and planters eagerly bought more and more enslaved Africans. Great Britain’s trade authorities divided the Old Dominion by customs, or naval, districts, all of which were river based. These districts were the York, Rappahannock, South Potomac, Upper James, and Lower James. So, slave traders and buyers could board the ships at the district’s port. Middlemen could also buy enslaved Africans and sell them in towns or at landings or docks.6
Transatlantic slavers probably did not or could not sail upriver as far as Richmond or Petersburg. They wanted to sell their human cargoes and return quickly to Great Britain and eventually Africa for more moneymaking opportunities. So people inland had to travel to the slave ships. The closest British naval district port to Richmond was Bermuda Hundred, where the Appomattox and James rivers meet. Transatlantic shippers, whether from Africa, Europe, or diverse western hemisphere locations, used the Bermuda Hundred naval district headquarters to transfer material or human cargo. They did so to adjust to navigation impediments, such as sandbars and circuitous river paths. Some ocean-ready ships were too large to go much farther upriver than Bermuda Hundred or Osborne’s, an alternative landing on several occasions. Buyers could use smaller boats or land routes to travel up the Appomattox to Petersburg or up the James to Rocky Ridge (Manchester) and Richmond. However, while there were regular Virginia Gazette advertisements for slave ship sales of Africans at Bermuda Hundred, there were very, very few advertisements for enslaved Africans to be sold at Fall Line towns.7
Piedmont Virginia was the biggest market for “new Negroes,” the term for newly imported Africans. Among the primary and secondary customers of the British slave sellers were many hundreds of people west of Petersburg, Richmond, and Fredericksburg. Counties of those areas grew most rapidly from the 1710s through the 1760s. The Fall Line was but an initial stop on the way to Piedmont customers.8
White Richmonders obviously relied on enslaved laborers. But Richmond did not constitute a significant market for the transatlantic slave traders. Bermuda Hundred remained the official foreign trade location until well after slave importation ceased in fact, 1775, and by law, 1778, and it was designated a United States Customs District port. This preference for a downstream customs port indicates the fledging Richmond town’s low “buying power.” Richmond’s population was only 250 in 1742, 574 in 1769, and 587 by 1779. Many of those inhabitants were enslaved or were non-slaveholders. So the little river town could hardly have been a large market by itself for newly arrived Africans. (The town population more than doubled when Richmond became the capital of Virginia in 1780, after enslaved Africans could legally be imported.) Middlemen could march Africans to various inland sites to attract buyers. There were public sales in or near river towns like Petersburg, Rocky Ridge (later named Manchester), and Richmond.9
The Revolutionary War interrupted British importation of enslaved Africans to Virginia. The new state of Virginia soon (1778) outlawed all importation of Africans. Several elite Old Dominion slave owners clearly had simultaneously publicly condemned the Atlantic slave trade as inhumane and maintained ownership of numerous human beings. For example, when Governor Dunmore attracted enslaved Africans’ support, an anonymous letter writer stated that “long have the Americans, moved by compassion, and actuated by sound policy, endeavoured to stop the progress of slavery.” Given such sentiments, the new legal barrier to increasing the enslaved African population might appear to reflect white Virginians’ weakening commitment to the peculiar institution. That is a colossal misperception. Instead the 1778 statute changed the source of the dominant labor force. Leading Old Dominion planters knew what they were doing. Previously such Virginia planters as the Carters and John Tayloe had acted as English slave traders’ agents.10
After 1775 similar wealthy plantation owners—and increasingly, lesser owners—became the sellers of enslaved people whom whites in Southside Virginia and other developing areas wanted to buy. The pre-1776 African slave trade as well as natural increase had raised the Old Dominion’s enslaved population to 292,600 by 1790. All these men, women, and children were either born in Africa and forced to Virginia, or descended from victims of the slave trade. And their children could either be kept in Virginia or “sold down the river” in the “Second Middle Passage.”11
The Second Middle Passage: "Sold Down the River"
A Deep South delegate to the 1787 U.S. Constitutional Convention clearly stated the advantage Old Dominion sellers of enslaved people might have if the proposed Constitution prohibited all African importation into the United States. The consequence, he said, was that “slaves of Virginia would rise in value, and we should be obliged to go to your markets.” The U.S. prohibition that became law on January 1, 1808, proved the delegate’s point. By the early 1800s, the same James River and other Old Dominion rivers on which the slave ships had carried Africans into the colony now helped interstate slave traders find new markets in the Deep South. This time the ships went downriver into the Atlantic to ports like New Orleans. The phrase "sold down the river" speaks volumes about forced family separations and the personal dislocation that the interstate slave trade caused. (Virginia Governor Henry Lee learned in 1792 that one reason for slave rebelliousness in Norfolk and on the Eastern Shore was the “practice of severing husband, wife, and children in sales.”) The interstate trade used land routes too; by the 1850s enslaved people were even loaded onto trains headed for the lower South cotton and sugar plantations. While it can be difficult to distinguish between enslaved people taken to the South by their migrating owners and those sold South, historians have estimated that 300 to 350 thousand Old Dominion men, women, and children were sold South.12 The traders dealt in human commodities. One early advertisement reflects an interstate slave trader’s attitudes, both economic and social: “One Hundred Negroes, from 20 to 30 years old, for which a good price will be given. They are to be sent out of the state, therefore we shall not be particular respecting the character of any of them—Hearty and well made is all that is necessary.”13
Richmond became the second largest (after New Orleans) intrastate and interstate slave trading locality in the United States by the 1840s. It would be very instructive to learn how many of the people “sold down the river” were transported out of Richmond. Available numbers are not completely inclusive or conclusive. But they do indicate very heavy involvement of Richmond traders in the interstate slave trade. There are other ways to estimate the interstate slave trading power of the Richmond dealers. As Frederic Bancroft’s early study Slave Trading in the Old South made clear, there was a highly organized slave trade market in Richmond by the 1830s. Tadman and Bancroft both identify the most prominent traders and specify the earning power of some. These two historians used a mother lode of account and business records for the most successful traders. Those records are replete with transactions concerning black people who were sold to traders bound for the Deep South, including, especially, New Orleans. Finally, simple demographic data suggest the impact interstate slave trading had on enslaved people in Virginia. Enslaved black Virginians continued to reproduce themselves for some time—i.e., achieved natural increase as a group—especially after the Old Dominion closed the transatlantic slave trade. But it is striking that their numbers began to increase significantly less in the 1820s, decreased (for the first time) in the 1830s, and increased by only 5 percent in the 1840s and 4 percent in the 1850s. General health conditions may even have improved by the 1830s, yet there was still a population loss.14
Slave Population Growth and Decline, Virginia, 1800-1859
Enslaved Virginians also experienced a disastrous personal loss because of the interstate slave trade. A cynical, abusive, profit-dominated, dismissive and inhumane cast of mind among slave traders conflicted with their need to sell “a good product.” Too often sales techniques had the primary purpose of minimizing potential buyers’ rejection of some people who were on sale. Some of the most vivid and damning descriptions of slave traders’ habitual methods and attitudes are the documents they left behind. Most of them are inventories of enslaved people on sale; others are letters to and from other slave dealers in the South.15
"The Devil's Half Acre"
African Americans fully understood the threat represented by the increasingly professional slave traders who congregated on and near 15th Street, just blocks from the Virginia Capitol, in the 1830s through April 1865. Many slave traders were quite successful and at least publicly acceptable too—so much so that 1850s Richmond city directories listed them as slave traders, not just as "merchants," a euphemism previously used for slave dealers. The traders’ financial success may have helped their business reputation. By 1860, the prices of men, 19-25 years of age, had risen to an average of $1,556; the figures for boys, 15-18, and women, 16-20, were, respectively, $1,366 and $1,400. Such prices purportedly pushed overall auction receipts to $3,500,000 or $4,000,000 in 1857.16
Robert Lumpkin was a successful Richmond trader as well as boarder of slave buyers and of enslaved people. Some were to be sold or to remain in town to serve their visiting owners. Lumpkin developed and expanded a slave pen complex that black Virginians called the "Devil's Half Acre." Lumpkin became nationally famous when escaped slave Anthony Burns, a Virginian, spent time in Lumpkin’s Jail after being captured in Boston, Massachusetts. There followed a dramatic test of President Pierce’s and the federal government’s commitment to enforce the revised 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. (Northern abolitionists fortunately won Burns’s freedom.)17
Key actors in the 1841 Creole rebellion may have gone through Lumpkin’s Jail. They certainly had been held in one of the Shockoe slave jails. The Creole’s October 1840 shipment of Lumpkin’s and other traders’ human cargo became famous when Madison Washington and some other enslaved men took over the ship and forced it into Nassau Harbor, in the Bahamas. Well supported by black Bahamians and being granted their freedom by British authorities, many apparently moved to Jamaica. In spite of this financial loss to traders, which was not indemnified by Great Britain until the 1850s, Lumpkin sent two more groups of men and women to New Orleans on March 7 and April 10, 1843.18
Although they did not make news stories and cause international friction like the Creole rebels, hundreds and hundreds of other people had to endure being the “fungible display goods.” Many—particularly women—were forced to parade themselves before Lumpkin’s customers, who would offend the "commodities" by "inspecting" them. Lumpkin's Jail even had specialized rooms. There was a separate chamber where resisting slaves would be whipped.19 Then there was the trip—the Second Middle Passage—to distant slave markets. Like other Richmond dealers, Lumpkin sent enslaved people south on ships, such as the Brig Orleans in 1840. As usual, the same ship carried slaves for several other Richmond traders, such as Bacon Tait, Tomlinson and Dickinson, and William H. Goodwin. Although Lumpkin used coastal slave ships in 1843, he later relied exclusively on land and rail transportation. Like his fellow slave dealers, Lumpkin would continue trading all the way to April 1865, probably relying on overland, river, or railroad transportation. There is even a story that when Confederate leaders were boarding trains to escape the Union takeover of Richmond, Lumpkin tried unsuccessfully to talk them into carrying 50 slaves so he would not lose his investment.20
Many examples survive of vicious, uncaring slave traders. In contrast there are many glimpses of African-American humanity in the midst of social oppression. These glimpses may appropriately be called grace under pressure. As might be expected, the enslaved made the most telling observations. Henry “Box” Brown lost both his wife and children to Richmond slave traders. He very dramatically and movingly described his grief and despair upon seeing them led south from Richmond.21 In 1862, Mary F. Lumpkin, the African-American mother of slave trader Robert Lumpkin’s children, sympathized with Armstead, an enslaved young man who was sent to Lumpkin’s Jail with a message. He unfortunately did not know the message asked “Mr. Lumpkin” to have him chained and whipped. Upon arriving at the jail, he noticed that Mrs. Lumpkin “looked at me rather piteously; I could not understand it,” said a man some years later. Robert Lumpkin told someone to “put him in,” that is, into the whipping room, he said. When the whipping ended and he emerged, “that same woman looked at me again, and it seemed to me that she was saying, ‘poor child.’” She was apparently powerless to do more. Young Armstead later became Bishop Armstead Newman. He encountered Mrs. Lumpkin once again in 1873 at his New Orleans church. She arrived with a letter of dismissal from First African Baptist Church, Richmond. She had not forgotten the 1862 incident; likewise, Newman remembered her. Newman asked,
‘Is this Sister Lumpkin?’ She said, ‘This is Sister Lumpkin,’ and looked at me and said, ‘Have I not seen you before?’ I said, ‘I expect you have.’ She remarked, ‘Are you not the little one that came one morning down to the jail with a note, and are you not the one that went into the back room?’ ‘Yes, I am the same one,’ said I. ‘Ah,’ she said.22
Mary F. Lumpkin and Virginia Union University
When the "slavery chain done broke at last"—a song African-American Union soldiers heard inmates of the slave traders' jails sing just before they were released—the Devil's Half Acre stood empty. A Northerner who wished to help educate newly freed black Americans in Richmond searched for a place where he could start a school. Mary F. Lumpkin, Robert Lumpkin's formerly enslaved widow, leased her property (inherited from Robert Lumpkin) to the Rev. Nathaniel Colver. He taught there with other people for several years. The students chose a new name for the radically changed buildings: God’s Half Acre. Over time the school became Virginia Union University, one of Virginia's historically black colleges and universities.23
Slavery is dead in Richmond
There are two ways to mark the final destruction of slavery in Richmond. One is to note that Union Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel reported the end of Confederate troops’ downriver defense of approaches to Richmond. He reported on April 1, 1865, that “some of the enemy’s forces were leaving in front of Bermuda Hundred.” By the next morning he “felt pretty well convinced that the enemy were evacuating Richmond.” He accordingly ordered troops to approach Richmond “to receive the surrender of the city,” which they did on Monday, April 3, 1865. Bermuda Hundred was the port at which at least 16,000 enslaved Africans were unloaded between 1698 and 1774 to be sold to white Virginians. Richmond was the city from which many thousands of enslaved people were “sold to Georgia” and “sold down the river” to the Deep South. Now U.S. troops’ control of Bermuda Hundred helped cause the end of human bondage in Richmond and elsewhere.24
Two seemingly prosaic business documents from 1867 reflect how the Rev. Colver and his African-American students fundamentally and positively transformed the Richmond landscape--and, more importantly, some people’s lives--in what was once “a place of sighs” and was still a “place of bitter memories.” They follow. They speak for themselves.25
Short first citations are for publications listed in the bibliography that accompanies this essay.
1-Vietnamese novelist Bao Ninh has written about the “Jungle of Screaming Souls” in his novel The Sorrow of War, trans. Phan Thanh Hao (New York: 1993). He referred to a particularly fierce battle area during the Vietnam War. There were several slave jails in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom. Charles H. Corey called their location “this place of sighs” and “a place of bitter memories.” History of the Richmond Theological Seminary (Richmond, Va., 1895), 55, 75.
2-David Eltis, “The Volume and Structure of the Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Reassessment,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Series, LVIII (January 2001): 29-30, and 45-47, Tables I and II. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (Cambridge, Eng., 1999) made these data available. There are plans to place an expanded and more accessible version of the database online, raising the number of voyages from the 27,227 on the CD-ROM version to 35,000 voyages on the Web-based version. (http://dubois.fas.harvard.edu/research_projects/trans_atlantic_slave_trade_database.html and http://www.diverseeducation.com/artman/publish/article_6079.shtml both accessed 1/8/07)
3-Herbert S. Klein summarizes research on this subject in The Atlantic Slave Trade (Cambridge, Eng., 1999), 125-29. Klein shows that African population growth estimates reveal the way the Atlantic slave trade caused acute demographic damage. In “Dahomey and the Slave Trade: Reflections on the Historiography of the Rise of Dahomey,” Journal of African History 27 (1986): 237-67, Robin Law concludes that some African warfare resulted from the wish to control the supply of enslaved Africans for export. See also Stephanie Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Cambridge, Mass., 2007), and Marcus Rediker, The Slave Ship: A Human History (New York, 2007.)
4-Morgan, 58-62; The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade . . . Database; Walsh, 166-69, Tables I and II. African regional origins are described on p. 145. The compilers of the original (1999) database estimated that approximately 33 percent of the total slaving voyages records are unavailable. Therefore it is plausible to raise the total of Virginia importations 28 percent (i.e., 22,000) from 78,000 to 100,000.
5-Morgan, 60, 81; U.S. Bureau of the Census, Negro Population, 1790-1815 (Washington, D.C., 1918), 57.
6-Walsh, 168-69, Tables I and II, and map, 180; Kulikoff, “Origins,” 233-35; Morgan, 76-77; James McMillin, The Final Victims: Foreign Slave Trade to North America, 1783-1810 (Columbia, S.C., 2004). The importance of Bermuda Hundred to foreign trade was confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly in 1784. The state legislators restricted the foreign tobacco trade to five ports. Bermuda Hundred was the only such port near Richmond. Joseph C. Robert, The Tobacco Kingdom: Plantation, Market, and Factory in Virginia and North Carolina, 1800-1860 (Durham, 1938), 11.
7-Joseph A. Goldenberg, “Virginia Ports,” in Chesapeake Bay in the American Revolution, ed. Ernest McNeill Eller (Centreville, Md., 1981), 311. General Benedict Arnold’s account of the May 1781 battle in and near Bermuda Hundred and Osborne’s is useful to understanding navigation in the area: Arnold to General Sir Henry Clinton, May 12, 1781, Documents of the American Revolution, 1770-1783, ed. K.G. Davies, 21 vols. (Shannon, Ireland, 1972, 1981), XX, 142-3. Ship size strongly influenced the decision to sail upriver or not. There are considerable records and discussions of slave trading ship sizes (tonnage). In the 1760s and 1770s, average tonnage of British slave trading vessels was about 112. Tonnage increased steadily until it reached an average of 241, 1801-1807. Roger Anstey, “The Volume and Profitability of the British Slave Trade, 1761-1807,” Race and Slavery in the Western Hemisphere: Quantitative Studies, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Eugene D. Genovese (Princeton, 1975), 12, table 3; Klein, Atlantic Slave Trade, 143-4; Charles Garland and Herbert S. Klein, “The Allotment of Space for Slaves Aboard Eighteenth-Century British Slave Ships,” William and Mary Quarterly, 42 (April 1985), 238-48; David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge, Eng., 2000), 119. There were not explicit advertisements for ocean-going ships to be sold in Richmond before the slave trade to Virginia ended. However, a few advertisements suggest ocean readiness: Virginia Gazette (Rind), December 12-14, 1769, 2: 2,500 bushels burthen; Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon), October 18, 1770, 3, 2,000 bushels burthen; Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) October 27, 1774, 2, 504 hogsheads of tobacco burthen; Virginia Gazette (Dixon) August 10, 1776, 6; 3,200 bushels burthen, Virginia Gazette (Purdie), December 12, 1777. Many of the Bermuda Hundred landings are listed in Virginia Slave-Trade Statistics, 1698-1775, ed. Walter E. Minchinton and Celia King (Richmond, 1984).
8-Philip D. Morgan and Michael L. Nicholls, “Slaves in Piedmont Virginia, 1720-1790,” William and Mary Quarterly 3d Ser., 46 (April 1989): 211-251, especially 211-13, which highlights Bermuda Hundred and follows one enslaved woman’s life from Bermuda Hundred to her work in Charlotte County; Richard S. Dunn, “Black Society in the Chesapeake, 1776-1810,” in Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (Charlottesville, Va., 1983), 58; Morgan, 81, 93-95, 99; Kulikoff, Tobacco and Slaves, 52-54; Douglas Chambers, Murder at Montpelier: Igbo Africans in Virginia (Jackson, Mississippi, 2005), 90-94. On Bermuda Hundred, see: “An Act for Ports,” 1691, William Waller Hening, The Statutes at Large, 13 vols. (Richmond, 1809-23), III, 60; U.S. Bureau of Customs, Accounts, 1791-1793, Bermuda Hundred and City Point, Va., Virginia Historical Society; L. Daniel Mouer, “The Place Where the Pale Ran: Archaeology and History at Bermuda Hundred,” The Journal of the Chesterfield Historical Society, 1 (1995), 16-17, 20-21.
9-Ward and Greer, 8-9; “Return of the Inhabitants and Assessments,” City of Richmond, Wardships 1-4, 1784, Photostat, Library of Virginia; Sidbury; Robert, Tobacco Kingdom, 11. Ward and Greer, 123, state that Manchester (Rocky Ridge) was “Virginia’s leading slave market in the colonial period” and “during the first part of the Revolution,” but that claim is worth contesting. There were many sales notices for enslaved people elsewhere, in the Virginia Gazette especially Williamsburg and Yorktown, and relatively few advertisements for Rocky Ridge/Manchester sales before the Revolution. It is worth noting that almost all Virginia Gazette enslaved worker advertisements emphasized that the people to be sold were “Virginia-born.”
10-Lorena S. Walsh, “Liverpool’s Slave Trade to the Chesapeake: Slaving on the Periphery,” 11-12, Conference on Liverpool and Transatlantic Slavery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, October 2005, available at http://www.hslc.org.uk/downloads/walsh_paper.pdf?PHPSESSID=2a136d6f5dbd40d0f7df76c86b5c183f ; Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), November 5, 1775.
11-Aaron S. Fogleman, “From Slaves, Convicts, and Servants to Free Passengers: The Transformation of Immigration in the Era of the American Revolution,” Journal of American History 85 (1998): 43-76; Bruce A. Ragsdale, A Planter’s Republic: The Search for Economic Independence in Revolutionary Virginia (Madison, Wisc., 1996), 111-136; W. E. B. Du Bois, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America (New York, 1896), 224-25; McColley, 163-70; Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone, 256-89; and, for the title “Second Middle Passage,” Berlin, 14, and the index category “Second Middle Passage.”
12-Berlin, Many Thousands Gone, 264-272; Berlin, Generations of Captivity; McColley, 164; Gudmestad, “Richmond Slave Market,”; Tadman; Deyle; Gudmestad, Troublesome Commerce; Troutman, “Slave Trade and Sentiment”; Troutman, “Geographies of Family and Market: Virginia’s Domestic Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century,” available at http://fisher.lib.Virginia.EDU/slavetrade/; Johnson; The Chattel Principle: Internal Slave Trades in the Americas, ed. Walter Johnson (New Haven, Conn., 2004).
13-Virginia Gazette and Independent Chronicle, December 22, 1787, quoted in McColley, 164-5, and in Tadman, 15.
14-Bancroft; Tadman, passim. and Gudmestad, “Richmond Slave Market,” passim. Relying on Tadman, Troutman, “Geographies,” estimates the total out migration of Virginia slaves—with owners and by sale—at 515,000, 1790-1863. Over half of that migration occurred between 1830 and 1859.
15-Baptist, “Absent Subject, 136-73; Baptist, “’Cuffy,’”; Troutman, “Slave Trade and Sentiment.”
16-Gudmestad, “Richmond Slave Market,” 25-26, 107; Tadman, 63
17-Albert J. Von Frank, The Trials of Anthony Burns: Freedom and Slavery in Emerson’s Boston (Cambridge, Mass., 1998); Charles E. Stevens, Anthony Burns: A History (Boston, 1856), 187-194, 234-36, 287-90; Richard Henry Dana, The Journal, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), III, 639-41. Ralph Waldo Emerson attacked the 1850 law with all his rhetorical powers: “this filthy enactment was made in the 19th century, by people who could read & write. I will not obey it, by God." Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1820-1872, ed. Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes (Cambridge, Mass., 1909-1914), VII, 236.
18-U.S. Customs Service, Port of New Orleans, Inward Slave Manifests, 1807-1860, 1840-1843 Reel, February 27, 1840, October 20, 1841, March 7, 1843 and April 10, 1843; Jones; Troutman, "Grapevine”; Maggie Montesinos Sale, The Slumbering Volcano: American Slave Ship Revolts and the Production of Rebellious Masculinity (Durham, N.C., 1997); “Mutiny and Murder,” The Times of London, January 13, 1842, 6: the Jamaica reference.
19-Details about Lumpkin’s operations are not as numerous as historians would like. He claimed in 1866 that all his records were destroyed by a Shockoe Creek flood and by U.S. troops who occupied Richmond in 1865. (Lumpkin vs .Lumpkin, Chancery Records, Richmond Circuit Court, certified May 21, 1866, John Marshall Courts Building, Richmond.) However, a small ledger—“Robert Lumpkin Balance Sheet, Miscellaneous, 1849-50”—is available at the Valentine Richmond History Center Archives.
20-On the transportation of forced migrants see Gudmestad, Troublesome, 22-26, and Tadman, 71-82. The story concerning Lumpkin’s desperate effort of April 3, 1865, was first published in Charles C. Coffin, “Late Scenes in Richmond,” The Atlantic Monthly, 15 (June 1865), 751-2. It may or may not be true. The story is obviously second hand—Coffin did not enter Richmond until after the Confederate officials evacuated. On the other hand, Lumpkin, for all his faults, was not stupid. He would want to cut his losses. Some of the people might have been boarded with Lumpkin. So he might be liable for losses of such people sustained by other owners—if liability could be asserted under the circumstances of Confederate defeat.
21-Ruggles, Unboxing, 20-21.
22-Corey, 48-50; William Hicks, History of Louisiana Negro Baptists from 1804 to 1914 (Nashville, Tenn., 1915), 171-74. Mrs. Lumpkin moved to New Orleans in 1872: Soards' New Orleans City Directory (New Orleans, 1873). By 1880 she had moved to New Richmond, Ohio, where she died in 1903.
23-Corey, 46-48, 54-58, 77; Smith, Memoir, 267, 269-71, 279.
24-“Report of Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, U.S. Army, April 17, 1865, United States War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1880-1901), Ser. I, vol. 46, I, 1227.
25-Account of F. G. Flournoy with Robert Lumpkin's estate, June-August 1867 ("Returned with report of Commissioner Evans of 27 of June 1872”), and account of M'Keil & Wilson, May 1867, submitted to court June 27, 1872, Lumpkin's Exec. v. Kelsey, Chancery Records, Richmond Circuit Court, John Marshall Courts Building, Richmond.
Bancroft, Frederic. Slave Trading in the Old South. New York, 1959.
Baptist, Edward E. “The Absent Subject: African-American Masculinity and Forced Migration to the Antebellum Plantation Frontier.” In Southern Manhood: Perspectives on Masculinity in the Old South, ed. Craig T. Friend and Lorri Glover. Athens, Ga., 2004, 136-73.
———. “‘Cuffy,’ ‘Fancy Maids,’ and ‘One-Eyed Men’: Rape, Commodification, and the Domestic Slave Trade in the United States.” American Historical Review 106 (December 2001): 1619-1650
Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South, ed. Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr. Richmond and Charlottesville, 1991.
Berlin, Ira. Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves. Cambridge, Mass., 2003.
———. Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America. Cambridge, Mass., 1998.
Brewer, James H. The Confederate Negro: Virginia's Craftsmen and Military Laborers, 1861-1865. Durham, N.C., 1969.
Brown, Elsa Barkley, and Gregg D. Kimball. "Mapping the Terrain of Black Richmond." Journal of Urban History 21 (March 1995): 296-346.
Bruce, Kathleen. Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era. New York, 1930.
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Philip J. Schwarz, Professor Emeritus of History, Virginia Commonwealth University