This photo shows sweet potato planting on James Hopkinson’s Plantation, Edisto Island, South Carolina. It was taken on 8th April 1862 by Henry P Moore, a native of New Hampshire who travelled to South Carolina to document the Civil War.
Early in the war Union gunboats bombarded the Sea Islands off the coast of South Carolina and Confederate planters left hastily, ordering their field hands and house servants to accompany them. Most ignored their former masters and remained.
The Union government eventually appointed northern antislavery reformers to manage the lands abandoned by the planters and to oversee the labour of ex-slaves. These reformers wanted to demonstrate the superiority of free labour over slave labour in the cultivation of cotton.
Most freed people, however, did not want to grow cotton or produce for the market, preferring instead to grow corn, potatoes, and other subsistence crops.
High quality glossy print. Frame not included. Depending on size chosen, some parts of image shown may be cropped.
© Colourised by Tom Marshall (PhotograFix). All Rights Reserved.