Slaves Fleeing the U.S. South, 1864


Accomplice cases involve persons indicted and/or convicted (and in some cases, later pardoned) for various actions viewed as enabling a slave to flee or avoid recapture once on the run. Some people addressed in these cases were guilty of no action per se, only of putting the idea in a slave's head that he or she should run. Many of these cases were of unwitting participants in a slave's flight, though a sizeable number reputed anti-slavery advocates.

Accomplices are those known or believed to have assisted fugitives on the run. The various record series held at Maryland State Archives identify this group as having violated any number of crimes. Most frequently, however, expressions of the crime committed were phrased as "aiding and abetting," or "enticement and persuasion." Either phrasing designated someone as having assisted a slave attempting to escape or avoid recapture. Numerous free blacks and whites were so convicted during the Antebellum Era in Maryland. Investigation of the Maryland Penitentiary Prisoner Record, 1811 - 1869, yielded seventy-eight persons incarcerated for various crimes against slavery. This yield is the product of the single extant docket, and likely reflects only a percentage of those actually convicted for such crimes.