Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2020

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History and American Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Ferrell, Claudine

First Advisor

McClurken, Jeffrey

Major or Concentration



In 1862, the United States government established Hammond General Hospital at Point Lookout in St. Mary’s County, Maryland for the treatment of Union soldiers. In response, enslaved people in Maryland and Virginia began escaping to Point Lookout, and a contraband camp was soon formed. Even though official policies that governed the treatment of “contrabands” drastically changed between 1861 and 1865, many of these policies did not apply to the state of Maryland. As a result, these individuals faced repeated threats to their safety and well-being. Yet, the level of protection that these refugees received improved over time due to the actions of a small group of people who advocated for them. This clear change in how refugees were treated at Point Lookout’s contraband camp between 1862 and 1865 can be attributed to the actions of those on the ground who provided refugees with a way to speak out against unfair treatment. Once the U.S. Army left Point Lookout in 1865, conditions declined for newly-freed people in St. Mary’s County, who had to contend with government policies that failed to fully support them for a second time.

Included in

History Commons