Something That Recently occurred to Me About Gods & Generals...


First Sergeant
Jul 21, 2012
North of Fort Stevens, DC

Slaves on the Escape to Freedom, Rappahannock River, August 1862
I've seen this picture many times before but just recently learned of its place and date. Are these people escaping from the Corbin plantation on their way to a Happy New Year?​

The last time I watched Gods & Generals, I noticed the something Christmas 1862 party at Moss Neck Manor, hosted by Mistress Roberta Cary Corbin. If the Christmas party took place (and I believe it is documented that it did), then were there slaves on hand to help Mistress Corbin with the event? Or had the slaves from that plantation escaped by December 1862? I'm just curious because that party seemed quite elaborate for one person, in any case, to put together. Granted, I have no idea how big the actual party was.

Does anyone know what happened to the slaves of Moss Neck Manor in the fall and winter of 1862?

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Kristen Hope

Jan 15, 2018
I see that this is a super old post but I’ll answer anyway!

Most of the Moss Neck slaves made a break for it in 1862 with the Federals in the area. Some did stay. (Many were sold in 1860.)

Bertie Corbin was not on her own. She had her sister-in-laws with her as well as some neighbors taking refuge. The big dinner was catered by Jackson’s aide, J.P. Smith and it took place in an outbuilding on the plantation with a party to follow at Moss Neck hosted by Mrs. Corbin.

When Janie Corbin died, there were some slaves remaining who were helpful with the mournful process. (Side note: the “other children” didn’t all survive. Parke and Gardiner, Jane’s cousins died within days of her. The youngest, a baby named Kate, miraculously survived.)

I’d love to know more about the slaves at Moss Neck. I’ve read that one who remained with the Corbins is buried on the property but I don’t know if that is true. It wasn’t in an official account.

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