Enslavement & the Civil War: 1719 - 1865
Following the introduction of slavery into the French colony in 1719, colony residents began using forced labor to produce limited quantities of pitch and tar from pine sap. Enslaved laborers were also utilized in the lumber industry, one of the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s largest exports in the 19th century.
In order to keep New Orleans Theater in Union control and bolster troop numbers, General Benjamin Butler issued General Order Number 63 ordering the enlistment of free men of color in New Orleans. In January of 1863, Companies of the 2nd Louisiana Native Guard were deployed to defend Ship Island and garrisoned there for the remained of the war.