Al Sargis: Harriet Tubman as a Military Figure
The recent (2019) film, Harriet, left many aspects of Harriet Tubman’s life and work unexplored, but ICSS member Al Sargis has been researching Tubman’s military exploits as head of military intelligence of the Army of the Potomac and her planning, organizing and leading the only amphibious assault by a woman in US (and possibly world) history.
I would place her skills and talents in the context of what she learned in the Underground Railroad and her collaboration with John Brown in the raid on Harper’s Ferry. Little known is both her co-planning of the raid and furnishing many of John Brown’s troops. I want to open a whole new perspective on Tubman, as one book describes her as “America’s more unsung Civil War general.” Why did General Grant regard Harriet Tubman as “worth many regiments in the Northern forces” and John Brown call her “General”?
Tubman was the top military intelligence commander in the Department of the Potomac, the only woman to plan and lead an amphibious assault and a nurse in an army hospital. She also collaborated with John Brown on his Harper’s Ferry raid. While known for her work in the Underground Railroad, little is mentioned about how this prepared her for her later activities with John Brown and during the Civil War. This lecture will cover how each phase of her life groomed her for the next one: from before and during the Underground Railroad, her relationship with John Brown and, finally, her little known Civil War exploits.
Tubman’s turn to armed revolutionary struggle to abolish slavery in contrast to many, if not most, abolitionists and its political, moral and religious basis will be an underlying theme.
Gerald Smith may join us to say a few words from a Black HISTORICAL context.