Thought I would put together a short reading list for those of you watching Mercy Street. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Rather, it offers a few suggestions to help get you started. Feel free to add further suggestions in the comments section below.
Mercy Street is set in the spring of 1862 as the Union army was making its way up the Virginia Peninsula toward the Confederate capital of Richmond. Many of the fugitive slaves or contraband fled this part of the state as a result of this large military presence. Glenn Brasher’s book, The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom, does a wonderful job of explaining the impact of Union policy on the lives of slaves and the shifting federal policies. Forthcoming studies by Chandra Manning and Thavolia Glymph will likely give us even more insight into the experiences of contraband slaves.