In May 1864, various newspapers began reporting on the influx of enslaved families at military recruiting centers across Kentucky. One Cincinnati newspaper wrote: "Within a few days the negroes of Kentucky have become impressed with the idea that the road to freedom lies through military service, and there has been a stampede from the farms to the recruiting offices." By April 1865, the Louisville Journal was writing that "Hundreds and thousands of negroes have been received into Camp Nelson from far and near for several months past." That summer, a Massachusetts correspondent estimated the "contraband" population at Camp Nelson at 2,800 and reflected on its "stampede" origins: "There was a stampede of slaves from surrounding country, and they came in here in May and June of ’64 by scores; and sometimes under a pelting of stones from their enemies, which however, failed to arrest them."
Sunday, May 1, 1864
Monday, May 1, 1865
Escape Numbers Comment
Hundreds began arriving in 1864 and continued arriving in thousands into 1865