"Dying Like Sheep There": Racial Ideology and Concepts of Health at a Camp of Instruction for the U.S. Colored Troops in Charles County, Maryland

Author(s): Matthew Palus; Lyle Torp

Year: 2019

Summary

This is an abstract from the "Health and Inequality in the Archaeological Record" session, at the 2019 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Camp Stanton was a major Civil War recruitment and training camp for the U.S. Colored Infantry, established in southern Maryland both to draw recruits from its plantations, and to pacify a region yet invested in slavery. More than a third of the nearly 9,000 African Americans recruited by the Union in Maryland during the Civil War were trained at Camp Stanton. Regimented life in the camp supported the recomposition of bodily practices: dress, posture, motion, and hygiene, but African-American military enlistment also provided special access to inspect bodies and test racist presumptions regarding their fitness. Illnesses plagued Camp Stanton as it did many encampments, causing numerous deaths among recruits, and disease also necessarily reflected on the suitability of African Americans as soldiers and free people in American discourse and military practice. In this way racial ideology shaped understanding of illness, even among staunch abolitionists in command of the camp.

Cite this Record

"Dying Like Sheep There": Racial Ideology and Concepts of Health at a Camp of Instruction for the U.S. Colored Troops in Charles County, Maryland. Matthew Palus, Lyle Torp. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, St. Charles, MO. 2019 ( tDAR id: 449027)

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Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 440