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"Pay Roll of Slaves Employed by the Commonwealth"

  • "Pay Roll of Slaves Employed by the Commonwealth"
In April 1861, the state militia's engineering department paid owners of slaves and horses for labor at defensive works in Gloucester County.
Related documents:
  • "At the Service of the State"
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"Pay Roll of Slaves Employed by the Commonwealth"

Pay Roll of Slaves Employed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, for Coast, Harbor and River Defenses, on the Defensive Works at Gloucester Point in the Month of April 1861, Slave Rolls, May–October 1861, Records of the Engineer Department, 1861–1865, Record Group 46, Library of Virginia.

This is the second page of a two-page itemized list of the expenses that the state's engineer department incurred in renting slaves and horses to work on defensive works at Gloucester Point, on the north bank of the York River, in the month of April 1861. It is filed with other lists for Gloucester Point submitted later in the year and with similar lists for the same period compiled at nine other sites in the greater Hampton Roads and lower James River region.

In January 1861, the General Assembly appropriated $1 million for the defense of the state and employed a military engineer to direct the work. This printed form, with the place, month, and final digit of the year left blank to be filled in when completed, indicates that the state and the engineer planned to rent slaves by the day for heavy work and suggests that a printer or state official anticipated that the defensive works might require laborers beyond the year 1861. This page also records the renting of several horses from the owners of the enslaved laborers and indicates that the rate for hire of laborers and of horses was the same, $0.50 per day.

The printed text contains spaces for the owners to sign when they received their pay, but this copy contains no signatures.