Escapes from slavery: 1853-58
A mass slave escape from plantations around Cambridge, Maryland in 1857 by 28 men, women and children during a three day storm.

The group was armed for battle to fight for their freedom, but managed to slip past the slave patrols and slave catchers to make their way to Philadelphia, Pa. and ultimately resettle in other locations.

In another great strike for freedom, six enslaved humans from Fauquier and Loudoun counties set out for Pennsylvania in 1855.

A group of slave catchers caught up to them near present day Woodbine, Maryland where an armed confrontation occurred.

Four of the six managed to escape. One was caught and the fate of the other remains unknown. The two women in the party drew their pistols along with the men.

The leader of the group, Frank Wanzer later returned to Virginia to lead another group to freedom.

In a third escape in 1858, six sought freedom by crossing Delaware Bay from Lewes to Cape May.

A battle in the bay left them wounded, but they successfully fought off their pursuers, ultimately gaining their freedom in Canada.

A fourth confrontation took place in a Maryland barn near Taneytown in 1853.

Pistol shots were exchanged and both escaping slaves and slave catchers were wounded.

Three of the enslaved men were captured and re-sold in slavery while the fourth, a badly wounded Wesley Harris, would escape his captors and make his way to freedom in Canada where he became a brakeman on the Great Western Railroad.
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