October 2015 Meeting – Ron Baumgarten

Join us on October 13 when speaker Ron Baumgarten discusses one aspect of the Civil War in the Northern Virginia area that is often overlooked: The story of contraband camps.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., October 13, 2015

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: Civil War Contraband Camps of Northern Virginia

Thousands of slaves fled to Washington, D.C., in search of freedom during the first few years of the Civil War. As the number of “contrabands” expanded, their living quarters became increasingly overcrowded and unsanitary and the financial burden on the government grew. Seeking to address these problems, the Union Army relocated freedmen and women to abandoned secessionist properties in Arlington and Fairfax during the spring of 1863. Baumgarten’s talk will explore the history of these long-forgotten contraband camps, including the economic, social, military, and political dimensions. His presentation will also offer some insights into where the camps were located in Northern Virginia.


Ron Baumgarten was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and resides in Ashburn, Virginia, with his wife and three children. He holds a B.A. from American University and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law. He writes the blog, “All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac,” which examines Civil War history in and around Northern Virginia. He has also lectured extensively on local Civil War topics. When not reading, writing, and speaking about the Civil War, Baumgarten works for the U.S. government in the field of international trade.


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