Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
History and American Studies
Department Chair or Program Director
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.
Shiflett, Madelyn, ""On the Verge of Liberty": The Impact of Advocacy and Federal Policy at the Point Lookout Contraband Camp" (2020). Student Research Submissions. 393.