Photo credit: McPherson and Oliver
Scars of a whipped slave named Peter, photo taken at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1863. In his own words, "Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer." The slave pictured here escaped from a plantation in Mississippi, made his way to Union forces, and joined the U.S. Army at the Union garrison located at Baton Rouge.
Slavery in the United States began soon after the English colonists first settled in North America. From about the 1640s until 1865, people of African descent were legally enslaved within the boundaries of the present U.S. mostly by whites, but also by a comparatively tiny number of American Indians and free blacks. By 1860, the slave population in the U.S. had grown to 4 million.