Most escaped slaves received no help until reaching "The North," so their stories are of remarkable courage and tenacity—or desperation…

"A Promise Moon," Chapter 1, pgs. 4-5:

Armed men riding horses ensured the coffle remained intact.

"Look like they being marched to cotton," Rachel said.

"Being marched to the slow death, more like." Joe crossed his arms and held them against his chest. His large hands hid the holes in the front of his shirt. "They chained two by two, like they headed for the Devil’s ark."

…. Rachel grabbed Joe’s arm and backed away from the table. She recognized the satchel. It held last year’s bills.


*Slaves being sold down south were chained together and marched as a group, or "coffle." The average life expectancy for a slave sold in the Deep South was 5 to 7 years.


Click here to read the first few pages of, "A Promise Moon."

From "A Promise Moon," Chapter 1, page 7:

"Samuel, their first born, started to fuss. Cold, probably, she’d just finished nursing him a short time ago. He’d be walking soon. And then what? Working in the fields as a scarecrow until he’s old enough to pick worms off tobacco leaves. Spending his life in a field with mosquitos so thick, he’d disappear from view if he was more than 10 feet away. That ain’t no life."

I visited the plantation where Harriet Tubman was enslaved and experienced, "mosquitos so thick, [a person would] disappear from view if he was more than 10 feet away." A few seconds of this was enough for me, imagine having to endure this for an entire summer! Despite the dangers of escape, the horror of staying was unimaginable.


From "A Promise Moon," Chapter 1, pg. 11: 

"I’m going, Joe. I’ll wait for you when I get there, but I’m going where Mr. Lincoln says we can be together and free."

Abraham Lincoln actually drafted a bill for compensated emancipation of enslaved people when he was a Representative in Congress in 1849! He drafted a similar bill as President in 1861, but neither bill received enough support to reach the floor for a vote. However, a bill similar to the one in 1849 was put into effect on April 16, 1862, freeing the enslaved people in Washington, D.C. by allowing for compensation to be paid to their owners.

The well-known Emancipation Proclamation that went into effect on January 1, 1863, however, may not have technically freed a single person. Why?



A research grant to study slavery and the Underground Railroad in Kentucky inspired, "A Promise Moon." I alluded to, or drew inspiration from my findings as I wrote my latest novel which is set during the Civil War. RESEARCH FINDINGS

Return to "A Promise Moon."


Copyright © 2016, Singing Rock Publishing. All rights reserved.