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Va. dig focuses on Civil War 'contraband' camp

Friday - 5/16/2014, 10:30am  ET

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) -- Organizers of a planned dig in Hampton say they hope to shed light on a little-known chapter in Civil War history.

The two-acre archaeological dig is at the site of what was called the "grant contraband camp" during the war. It was established after Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler said in May 1861 that men treated as slaves by the Confederate army were to be considered contraband of war.

The declaration made Hampton a destination for slaves seeking their freedom, and earned Fort Monroe the name "Freedom Fortress."

Work began this week to prepare the Hampton site. Archaeologist Nick Lucketti will begin his work next week.

The Hampton History Museum has a contraband exhibit that runs through June 29.


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