Wm Hocker | Dispatches

The Metal Toy Soldiers of Wm. Hocker, Proprietor

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Randy Bond - 20Nov10 12:22PM

I have always admired Winslow Homer's paintings and watercolors done in Virginia during the Reconstruction Era of the 1870s. Among those is a watercolor entitled Contraband depicting a Union Zouave with an African American boy. The title is explained by this reference:

In the early months of the war, Union generals who encountered slaves were expected to return them to their “masters.” Troubled by the knowledge that slaves were used to support the Confederate military efforts, in May of 1861 General Benjamin Butler declared that fugitives who found their way to Fortress Monroe would be declared "contraband of war." Lincoln feared that offering even this limited form of freedom to slaves would alienate the border states that had been supporting the union. Congress, on the other hand, supported Butler's actions by passingthe Confiscation Acts. Butler's formulation received some support in the Northern press, and representations of slaves seeking refuge inside Union lines became a staple of illustrated newspapers.

In the next post you will find my tribute to Homer using three of Bill's figures from my collection.

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1. Randy Bond - 20Nov10 12:29PM

Here is my version of Contraband using figures from Sets 325 and 378

Since 1983