picture of a ship with an inset pic of Robert Smalls to the top right

Robert Smalls: The Enslaved Man Who Stole a Confederate Ship, Broke the Code, & Freed a Village

by Joe Biel Author

During the Civil War, the enslaved Black crew of a Confederate ship was left to sleep on board overnight. Following a carefully laid plan, they picked up their families and sailed behind Union lines under a white flag, winning their freedom and capturing the ship for the north. Robert Smalls was their daring, 23-year-old leader. He went on to have a long, celebrated career as a soldier, businessman, investor, and politician, including five terms in congress. This is the story of a brilliant man who bucked the system and gained power not just for himself, but for his entire community.