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Collection pertaining to the death of Martin, enslaved earthworks laborer for the Confederacy in Charleston, South Carolina

Identifier: MSS-4341

Scope and Contents

Eleven documents dated between September 14, 1863, and January 21, 1864, related to the conscripted labor and death of Martin, an enslaved man, and the evaluations and repayment to Thomas W. Chiles, a slaveowner. Martin, 24 years old, was conscripted by the Confederate government to build earthworks at a strategic location on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Provided out of obligation to the Confederate Army, Martin suffered intensive labor and poor, disease-ridden conditions that caused his death about five weeks after he was conscripted. Chiles, having provided Martin to the Army when he was in full health and strength, provided evidence of Martin's worth. The documents include receipts, affidavits, an appraisal, and legal documents from Chiles, the Confederate Army, and the State of South Carolina.


  • 1863-09-14 - 1864-01-21

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Due to the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to certain materials may require additional advance notice.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are responsible for using the materials in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any copyright claimants in collection materials. Copyright for official University records is held by The University of Alabama. The library claims only physical ownership of many manuscript collections. Anyone wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of literary property rights or copyrights. Please contact Special Collections ( with questions regarding specific manuscript collections.

For more information about copyright policy, please visit: Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal implications, for which the University of Alabama assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas W. Chiles (1793-1865) was a plantation owner in New Market, South Carolina, whose slaves, Renderson, 31, and Martin, 24, were conscripted by the Confederacy for earthworks defense projects on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Subjected to the poor conditions of the worksite and labor-intensive work, Martin died from disease on October 25, 1863. He contracted his illness while under the supervision of an engineer, Captain Lee, and overseer, Mr. Daniel Ramsay. Chiles attempted to receive proper financial compensation from the Confederate government for the loss of his enslaved laborer. Though Martin was evaluated for compensation at $4,000, Confederate statutory amendments awarded Chiles only $1,800.


0.04 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Guide to Collection pertaining to the death of Martin, enslaved earthworks laborer for the Confederacy in Charleston, South Carolina
Finding aid created by Kendall Hallberg, January 2023.
January 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266