Having ancestors who lived in a contraband camp in Memphis during the Civil War has created enormous interest in the history of the "Contrabands" themselves--the refugee slaves who freed themselves during that time of conflict.
My ancestor Mary Paralee Young was the sister of my gr. gr. grandmother Amanda Young Barr. During a raid into northern Mississippi, in 1864 Union soldiers entered the small town of Ripley. Able bodied black men joined the Union forces readily, obtatining much longed for freedom. Later that same night, those remaning slaves who could travel, left also following the route taken by Union soldiers.
My ancestor Paralee Young described what happened the night they left the estate of Tandy Young of Tippah County Mississippi: