Thousands of slaves became fugitives after the Civil War broke out in 1861. They went north where they hoped to find shelter under the protection of the Union Army. Out of a Southern population of nine million, there were three-and-a-half million slaves. Even though there was a Fugitive Slave Law in place, requiring free states to return slaves to their “masters,” it was not always enforced by the Northerners. Eventually, Congress defined fugitive slaves as free and that brought thousands of fresh black troops to fight within Yankee regiments.
In Canada, decades before the Civil War, white servants of European descent were so abundant, lower than average income families had at least one, most likely a woman who too often found herself, like her black counterparts, a victim of her employer’s sexual advances. But during the Civil War, laws regarding servitude had changed and Canada was an important safe haven for fugitive slaves.
Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:
Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Pansy-Suellen-Ocean/dp/1484900278
Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4