Robert Smalls was a slave who worked around Confederate Navy vessels in Charleston, South Carolina. One day he hijacked a ship loaded with new Confederate cannons. Also onboard were Smalls's wife and children, as well as several slave friends and their families. Smalls turned the Southern ship and its cargo of guns over to the Union navy and was rewarded. He, his family, and the others were also freed from slavery. Smalls's act of daring made him famous in the North. Following the war, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This photograph is from the postwar years.
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