Caring for soldiers and freedmen

Outreach to freedmen

Northern Presbyterians at the national level formally organized Freedmen's work during the war–in 1863 for the United Presbyterian Church of North America, and in 1864 for the Old School and New School branches of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Synods and presbyteries often led the effort, sending delegations south to set up and staff schools and provide other assistance.

After Union troops liberated the Sea Islands off South Carolina in 1862, Charlotte Forten (1837-1914) went to Fort Royal to teach the "contraband." Charlotte was the first black teacher to journey south; she later married Presbyterian pastor Francis Grimké.

Presbyterian pastor and abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet (1815-1882) recruited freed slaves to fight for the Union and offered his support by collecting and distributing supplies and ministering to soldiers.

  • Brief Report
  • "Sergeant Furney Bryant, 1st North Carolina Colored Troops," illustration by Vincent Colyer in his Brief Report of the Services Rendered by the Freed People to the United States Army in North Carolina. (New York: Vincent Colyer, 1864), 14.

  • Mckee School
  • Group of teachers at the "McKee School" in Nashville, circa 1865. UPCNA pastor, Rev. Joseph G. McKee (1832-1868), founded the school for freed slaves in October 1863. Historical Sketch of the Freedmen's Missions of the United Presbyterian Church, 1862-1904. (Knoxville, Tenn.: Printing Department, Knoxville College, 1904), 24.

  • Religious Instruction Freedman

    Excerpt from the minutes of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (Old School), Western Committee for the Religious Instruction of Freedmen, 1864-1865.

  • Out of Bondage
  • Jared Bell Waterbury, "Out of the House of Bondage". For the Freedmen. (New York: American Tract Society, 1864).