Barney Stone

Barney Stone was 91 years old when interviewed.  He was enslaved for 16 years before he escaped and joined the Union Army during the Civil War.  After the Civil War, Barney Stone was a self-taught teacher at a Black school and then became a preacher.  Earlier in the interview, Barney Stone explains how he witnessed his enslaver sell his sister, mother and brother.  He also recounts how his enslaver brutally whipped him, and other examples of cruelty towards enslaved people.  In this excerpt, Barney Stone explains how he joined the Union Army and his experience during the Civil War.  

*Historically-used terms that are offensive, marginalizing and/or disparaging have been removed from the transcripts and replaced with [redacted].  See more information.
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Source Description:

… After those experiences of sixteen long years in Hell, as a slave, I was very bitter against the white man, until after I ran away and joined the Union army.

At the out-break of the Civil War and when the Northern [Union] army was marching into the Southland, hundreds of male slaves were shot down by the Rebels [Confederates], rather than see them join with the Yankees [Union soldiers]. One day when I learned that the Northern troops were very close to our plantation, I ran away and hid in a culvert [tunnel for water], but was found and I would have been shot – had the Yankee troops not scattered them – and that saved me. I joined the Union army and served one year, eight months and twenty-two days, and fought with them in the battle of Fort Wagnor, and also in the battle of Milikin’s Bend. When I went into the army, I could not read or write. The white soldiers took an interest in me and taught me to write and read, and when the war was over I could write a very good letter. I taught what little I knew to [redacted] children after the War…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Barney Stone1847 (91)Robert C. IrvinLemuel Stone
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Noblesville, INKYKY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Civil War, Literacy, EducationFirst Person, Third Person, Whipped, Witness Extreme Cruelty, Sold, Slave Traders, Union Troops, Veteran or Widow, Notable, Spencer County