Alexandria Library -- Special Collections

Document of the Month

April 2006

Register of Freedmen, Camp Barker, 1862-65, Records of Contraband Camp

residents work activities  supplies


Camp Barker (12th and Q Streets, NW) and Duff Green's Row (Capitol Hill) were temporary contraband camps in Washington, DC. They offered shelter and services to escaped slaves (contrabands) seeking refuge in the nation's capital. (Slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia on April 16, 1862). These camps were superseded by Freedman's Village located on Robert E. Lee's former estate in Arlington. Descendants of the residents of Freedman's Village live in and around Alexandria.

These pages are representative of what is available on the microfilm, Register of Freedmen, Camp Barker, 1862-65, Records of Contraband Camp. The first document dated June 1862 provides details about residents e.g. "Name of Contraband," "Condition in Life," "Age," and "No. in Family."

The second document reports the work activities of individuals living at Camp Barker. Some were "Employed by Col. Green as teamsters" or "Gone to work at Battery D 112 Pa Regt Fort Thayer." More than one family is reported to have "Gone to do for themselves."

The third document is an account of supplies issued to U.S. Army officers. On June 30th, 1862, a Captain received "2 Cook Stoves." The following week, another officer received "2 Horses, 1 Two Horse Wagons, [illegible], 2 Halters, 1 Pair of Reins, 1 Whip, 1 Water Buckets, 1 Curry Comb, 1 Horse Brush."

NOTE: Danforth B. Nichols, Superintendent of Contrabands, was affiliated with the American Missionary Association. He later served as a trustee of Howard University.

For a complete list of Freedmen's Bureau microfilm in Local History/Special Collections see Special Collections Microfilm Index. A selected list appears below:


Related Resources
  • Microfilm: Register of Freedmen, Camp Barker, 1862-65, Records of Contraband Camp (microfilm #00569)
  • Microfilm: Lists of Destitute Whites & Unemployed Freedmen (microfilm #00634)
  • Microfilm: Property Owned/Rented by Bureau (microfilm #00639)
  • Microfilm: Reports on Confiscated/Abandoned Lands (microfilm #00631-00632)
  • Felix James. Freedmen's Village, Arlington, Virginia: A History
  • Joseph Reidy. "'Coming From the Shadow of the Past:' The Transition from Slavery to Freedom at Freedmen's Village, 1863-1900," The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, October 1987


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