The establishment of Camp Stanton in Charles County, Maryland during October of 1863 provided an unparalleled opportunity for slaves in the Southern Maryland Region to escape their masters. Six regiments totaling over 8,700 African-American soldiers were trained at Camp Stanton. Many, free and slave, came from Maryland's Eastern Shore. Others came from the Southern Maryland Counties of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's. While regimental histories and even some company histories exist for the 7th, 9th, and 30th Colored Infantries of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), to date no effort has been made to identify individual African-Americans from Southern Maryland who used the opportunity of enlistment with the Union Army during the Civil War as a means to escape slavery.
In 2004, SMSC received a National Park Service Research Grant for this project. The purpose of this project was to begin identifying USCT members from Southern Maryland differentiation wherever possible between free African-Americans and runaway slaves. One or more Companies from either the 7th, 9th, or 30th Regiments will be selected. Individuals from Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary's Counties will be identified as either free or slave. Life histories of these individuals will be compiled using records from the National Archives, the Maryland State Archives, and the Southern Maryland Studies Center. The African-American community will be solicited for additional family and genealogical information.
The end result of the project is a searchable web site created by the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and maintained by the Southern Maryland Studies Center, which can be accessed here: Civil War Slave/Soldier’s Listing. Whenever possible, copies of microfilm used during the course of the project research will be purchased and added to SMSC's microfilm collection. SMSC is centrally located within Southern Maryland. Providing copies of the microfilm used in the research phase of the project will make the information available to a wider audience outside of Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Maryland.