“Wherever the expedition passed the contrabands joined them. Some of them on “Massa’s mules,” some on “Massa’s horses,” others in “Massa’s wagons and carts,” others still on foot. Everywhere the Federal troops passed they were hailed by these persecuted people as their deliverers, and hundreds of them followed the expedition into the city. Here they will soon join the negro organizations, and a terrible retribution to be meted out by them is in store for their masters.” — J.H.H., Utica Morning Herald, July 23, 1863.
“The order to apply the torch to Tarboro bridge, so as to prevent the advance of the enemy from the opposite side upon our rear, was executed a little too soon. A large number of contrabands had just got over; many were still on the bridge and many were yet on the other side all eager to join our column and flee from their masters in Dixie to their worshipers among the Yankees. Some of our own men were also on the other side but with a few exceptions they contrived to make their escape. When the burning bridge fell it carried into the stream below or consumed in the vain effort to extricate themselves five and six hundred poor frantic Negroes.” – Henry Thomas King