Union Bound

Union Bound

Sergeant Hoover went to war to preserve the Union. After being captured and sent to a prisoner of war camp, he understood what it was to be kept against his will. Together with a friend he escaped and, aided by slaves, made it to freedom.
[somber music plays]
[cannons firing]
[shouts]
[man shouts]
[cannon booms in distance]
[train rattling]
[train whistle blows]
Think we’ll ever
see freedom again?
End of this war?
We were supposed
to be exchanged,
not sent to another prison.
I suppose so.
This ain’t no way
to be treating men.
Keeping us penned up
like livestock.
This ain’t no war
I signed up for.
What kind of war did you
sign up for, Robert?
[train whistle blows]
What does it say
for Southern hospitality?
[sighs] I tell you what.
I much prefer Virginia to this.
The lot of them down here
can rot in hell for all I care.
Why don’t we get out of here and
show them where they can put it.
What hospitality
are you expecting?
-We are prisoners.
-No offense, friend.
Just trying to break up the
tension of the situation here.
Does feel nice
to stretch our legs.
Don’t you think?
So to speak.
Well, better than Andersonville.
You got a name?
[chuckles]
Of course, don’t we all?
Thomas J. Ryan, corporal.
17th Maine Volunteer Infantry.
But, please, call me Tom.
You boys?
I’m…
I’m Robert Spencer, private.
This is
Sergeant Joseph Hoover.
We’re both with the 121st
New York Volunteers.
Nice to meet you.
Look, I was the only one
from my company
who was captured
in our particular conflict.
And on the account of some
unfortunate gambling debts,
I didn’t make it
out of Andersonville
with too many friends.
This sounds strange to say,
but, uh,
I’d feel better if I
had some friends, while we’re
in here, you know?
Maybe we can help
each other out.
I suppose so.
That’s all right with me.
Joseph?
You okay with that?
-Reckon so.
-Good deal. Good on ya boys.
Awesome. Great, guys.
You won’t regret it.
Come on, come on.
See?
My tent. I won this.
You any good at gambling?
Oh, yeah, I’m the best.
-There are no good gamblers.
-Hmm.
Where y’all boys from?
Andersonville from what I hear.
They treatin’ you good there?
Don’t worry, we’ll treat
ya good here too, Yanks.
-As long as y’all behave.
-[grunts]
Ah!
Keep moving, you Yankees!
Boys, welcome
to Florence Stockade.
All right, now, get on in there.
I see a spot. Follow me.
It’s right there.
It’s closest to the woods.
Were gonna have
to act quickly.
May not be long before
the stockade is finished.
Tom, you fool, look how
many guards there are.
-It’s worth a chance.
-Chance to get killed.
I won’t be shot
on account of you boys.
Come on.
Right here.
[crickets chirping]
[man whistles]
[man whistles]
[man whistles again]
That’s a nice book
you got there. Diary?
The paper can fetch
a real good price in here.
More than those newspaper
shreds you’ve been trading.
It’s not for trade or for sale.
[man whistles]
Never said it was.
You hear them whistles?
-Raiders.
-I figure so.
Just like Andersonville.
[man whistles]
Sounds organized.
Suppose they’re feeding
on the fears and weaknesses
of other prisoners.
[man] We’ve got
ourselves a runner!
[gunfire]
Might want to keep
that diary close.
You never know who might
be interested
in getting their hands
on that thing.
Sounds like someone
weren’t so lucky.
-You find anything?
-Quiet, keep a look out.
Hey!
All right, he’s coming to.
Joseph! Joseph.
You alive?
You alive, Joseph?
It looks that way.
[laughs] Let’s get you up.
Here.
How you feelin’?
Like there’s an artillery
battery in my head.
Well, that ain’t a surprise.
You tried to block
that raider’s club with it.
Who taught him how
to fight anyway?
Tom, just…
just leave him be.
Joseph had himself
a right row.
Yeah, and where were you?
Leave me to protect
the tent all by myself?
Protect?
Tom, you were sleeping.
Did they get off… did they
get off with anything?
No. No, they didn’t.
After that one
clubbed you down,
I laid into him,
I laid into him hard, Joseph.
He put up quite a struggle.
Must have been an Irish tough
from New York City.
Probably one of them raiders we
heard whistling the other night.
A New Yorker bastard.
The loyalty.
Anyway, we pulled
this off of him.
Thought you might not want
to get rid of it just yet.
-Thank you, Tom.
-You’re welcome, buddy.
Drink up.
I’m gonna finish my nap.
[music plays]
I’ve been thinkin’.
What we need is trickery.
-What?
-Trickery.
You know,
like an ace up your sleeve.
We need to find a way to steal
ourselves right outta this camp.
What ace?
You seen that line
of Confederates right
beyond the perimeter?
Yeah, what about ’em?
Well, there’s another line
20 paces after them,
and another one
20 paces after that,
and so on, and so on.
Day and night.
You’ve heard the gunshots.
Men trying to make a run for it.
Which is why
we need the trickery.
What has gotten into you, Tom?
This is not Andersonville,
but we are far from freedom.
They’re building
our new stockade as we speak.
Ain’t no amount of trickery
that’s gonna get us
out of that one.
Even so…
We’ve been here for four days
now, and I’ve been watching.
Just as well as
either of you boys.
The graybacks have
got this camp covered.
Dying is the only way
we’re getting free
before this war is over.
I don’t know.
I have an idea.
We get a case of the quickstep.
Enough of your tomfoolery.
Dysentery?
Okay, you officially
have gone mad.
Are you an idiot? Of course
I don’t mean it literally.
What does literature
have to do with dysentery?
-Wants us to pretend.
-We’ll be close to the woods.
And the reb guys, they don’t
watch that area too close.
So we pretend
we like dysentery?
That this camp and stockade
are just lovely accommodations
and they’re just gonna let us…
No, no, we pretend
that we have been taken
by the dysentery
to get us into the hospital.
You see it? It’s that white
building right over there.
Quickstep is the trick.
We get into the hospital,
we’ll be closer to the woods.
The rebs don’t watch
that area too close.
Do you get it?
Yeah, I just don’t know
why you didn’t say that
from the beginning.
Give me that.
[coughs, groans]
[stammers] We’ve taken ill.
We need a hospital.
Y’all look fine to me.
It’s dysentery. I got
terrible pains in my stomach,
and this one, he’s feverish.
-And what about you?
-It’s uh…
He’s terrible.
Hospital’s full,
ain’t no more beds.
Yeah, but even so,
we need to be seen.
With the three
of us taken ill,
you don’t want to be responsible
for causing an outbreak
for the whole camp, do ya?
Mr. Cooper. I got to take
these boys to the hospital.
Come on.
[knocks on door]
I told you,
the hospital’s full.
We can’t take
no more of ’em.
These boys got dysentery.
They can’t stay in camp.
[sighs] This way.
Just get some rest, okay?
We don’t have enough room
for ya,
but for now you can make
yourselves comfortable,
best you can.
-Right here.
-Right here?
Few of these poor men
are bound to die any day now
and give up their beds.
Outhouse is through that door.
Now, mind the guards.
You’ll be watched.
And they don’t like runners.
I’ll be back to check in on ya.
[Tom coughs]
What do we do now?
What kind of sergeant are you,
Joseph?
Waiting around for orders.
We wait for our opportunity.
[nurse]
You need some more water?
[crickets chirping]
[groaning]
Walter? Is that you?
No, sir, I’m Joseph.
What are you doing here?
I think you’re confused.
That’s all right.
It’s good of you to come
at least and attend to me.
They’re gonna fix you up real
good. You’ll be all right.
You always were the optimist.
Walter, I’m dying.
[woman] Have you made
your peace with God?
No, I’ve met God.
I wish Mama was here.
I’m not your mama,
but I am a woman of faith.
Just close your eyes
and pray this simple prayer
with me.
Heavenly Father…
don’t be afraid.
Heavenly Father…
[woman] I want
to make peace with you.
I want to make peace with you.
[woman] Please forgive me.
Please forgive me.
-[woman] I repent of my sins.
-I repent of my sins.
-Today…
-[man] Today…
I receive your son Jesus
as my Savior.
I receive Jesus, my Savior.
[woman] Amen.
Amen. Thank you, ma’am.
[woman] I’m glad I was here.
Do me a favor, will you?
Tell my mama, tell her
I’m sorry for leaving.
Tell her I discharged
my duties honorably.
Don’t tell her about my leg.
Will you tell her?
Yes, I’ll tell her.
[gunshot]
[man] Hey! We got a runner!
[man] Get ’em before
they get to town!
Hey!
We got two more in the woods!
-They shot Robert.
-I know.
Joseph, I’m sorry.
God rest his soul.
Tom, he’s dead because of us.
I know.
He died a better death
than wasting away
in that stockade.
-We need to keep moving!
-[man] Which way?!
Sergeant, please.
[distant shouts]
[man] Come on!
Give me your hat!
Give me your hat!
More trickery.
Come on, come on, come on!
They’s in the water.
-See anything?
-Over there, look!
Ain’t nobody survive that.
Let’s move on up river.
I need to rest.
[Tom] It worked.
It worked.
It worked!
My plan worked.
Here we are, Joseph.
We’re free!
We are free!
What? No thank-you?
I believe some gratitude
is in order.
We are out of the camp,
but we are far from free.
We’ve just exchanged one prison
for another.
Are you mad? How do you reckon?
We are deep
in Confederate territory, Tom.
You may not see the walls, but
every secession rebel for miles
will be looking for us now.
They’re not going to throw us
back to the stockade this time.
It’ll gonna be the gallows
for us, just like
those boys from Fort Sumter.
Maybe worse.
What do we do now?
We head north.
We join the Army.
You can’t be serious, Joseph.
We just survived the worst hell
I’ve ever seen.
That prison is worse than
any battle I’ve ever been in.
You?
Have you seen worse than that?
You can’t possibly think
for one moment
that we are expected
to go back into battle
and risk being captured.
I took a pledge,
three years’ service.
Same as you did.
Now I mustered in
with the 121st,
and I intend to muster
out with them.
The war could be over tomorrow.
It could last ten years.
This is our war no longer.
Camp Sumpter relieved me
of that duty.
No, sir, I intend to leave.
-Well, that’s desertion.
-No, it ain’t.
It’s practical.
An oath is an oath, Tom.
You swore same as I did.
And if Robert Spencer’s death
is to mean anything,
if God has taken his life
that we may survive,
and He’s given us
the opportunity to serve
this greater cause,
then I will continue
to serve this union
and uphold the Constitution
of these United States.
And if you could ever
call yourself a soldier…
You can damn well do
as you please.
Still a long way to go, though.
We’ve come this far.
Stockade was in Florence.
What is that, South Carolina?
Yeah, that’s what the rebs
were saying.
You know what’s around here?
I’m from Maine.
It’s a little unfamiliar to me.
[distant shouting]
[man] I can’t do this no more.
This– this ain’t right.
Just so many issues,
so many problems out here.
The prisoners
are plain crazy.
This is absolutely insane!
[man #2] Well, what specific
problem do you have?
[man] The food.
I mean, how do they expect
an army to march on this food?
[man #2] You don’t seem to be
gettin’ any thinner.
[man] …coffee brewed
from peanuts…
cooking cornmeal with bacon…
[man #2] I do miss
my wife’s collard greens.
[man] And sloosh.
Every day sloosh.
I’m tired of sloosh.
This ain’t the war
I signed up for.
[man #2] Well, what war
did you sign up for?
I was drafted…
-Oh, Joseph.
-Sorry.
-Let’s go, come on.
-I’m sorry. It’s okay.
Just…
I’ll be fine.
It’s the third time
you’ve collapsed, okay?
We need to get something to eat.
-Yes.
-Come on.
We were better off
in the stockade.
At least they fed us
once in a while.
I just need a moment.
-Whoa, whoa, whoa!
-[coughs]
-Here, here, here.
-[coughs]
[Tom] Joseph?
[grunting]
Come on, get up.
Come on, get up.
Here.
I got these.
Up the bank a ways.
It’s not much,
but we gotta eat something.
I’m sick to death of these.
What’s it been? Two, three,
four days of this.
We need real food.
-I saw, um…
-What?
-I saw a tobacco field.
-Where?
There’s probably
a plantation nearby.
We can go ask them for help.
They’ll shoot us.
No, maybe they won’t shoot us.
We can put that Southern
hospitality to a real test.
You damn fool,
haven’t you seen enough
of their Southern hospitality?
-These rebs are all the same.
-We gotta eat more than berries.
We can’t go on
and survive like this.
We ask the slaves.
What? No, I’m not begging
from a darkie.
-We have no choice.
-Yes, we have a choice.
From a slave, no less?
That’s like begging a beggar
for a fortune.
No, they can be feral.
I have more dignity than that.
No, you don’t.
We’re gonna die out here.
You said so yourself.
All right.
[Tom] You don’t know
what they’re like.
[Joseph] Nor do you.
[Tom] Fine, but if we end up
dead, this is your fault.
I was against this
from the beginning.
[banging on door]
Hello.
Hello, sirs. Y’all from
the Porter farm up the way?
No, we are refugees
in need of food.
-Can you spare any?
-Ref-gees?
Don’t know nothing
about no ref-gees.
We’re from up north,
but we’ve recently escaped
from your very same oppressors.
They’re Yankees!
Oh, no, they’s demons!
They’s Yankee demons!
They come for our souls!
No, they ain’t demons,
Aunt Delia.
-Yes, they is!
-We are not demons.
-Let’s go, Joseph.
-They do seem wild, though.
-What you want?
-We’d like some food.
-We’re starving.
-We haven’t eaten in three days.
-Well, we ain’t got none.
-You’re a bloody liar.
You have a table full
of food right there!
What you thinking, Charlie?
They don’t look much like
-devils or demons to me.
-[woman] Oh, yes, they are.
No matter what time of day,
they coming.
They ain’t no demons.
They is poor, starving folk,
same as us.
Look at ’em.
What you Yankees doing out here?
We ran away from a prison camp
near Florence.
We’re just trying to get home.
-You got bowls?
-Yeah.
Yeah. Here.
-Thanks be to God, and to you.
-Yeah, thank you.
You’re welcome.
It ain’t much.
It’s more than we would have
if we were out there.
-Take it and go.
-Oh, Charlie.
Would devils go on
praising God?
[Charlie] They could be
the thieving types.
But they ain’t.
Please, sit down.
Oh!
You nearly scared
the life out of me.
I ain’t never heard
no Yankee demon
-get scared when you touch it!
-[laughter]
My friend here’s named Tom.
-I’m Joseph.
-Mary-Ellen.
What’s your names?
I’m Samuel. This is Charlie.
This is Aunt Delia.
It’s a pleasure to meet you.
You have our gratitude
for providing sustenance
this evening.
-Where y’all headed to?
-We don’t know yet.
We heard there’s a Union post
by New Bern,
but we don’t know where that is.
Somewhere up near Wilmington,
I expect.
Master Jake sometimes send
cotton up the port thataway.
Either way, you best better
follow the Pee Dee.
-Pee Dee? What is that?
-The river.
Y’all stay here tomorrow.
I’ll take you down river aways.
I know where there’s a boat.
Yeah.
We appreciate your hospitality,
but we’ll go ahead
and sleep outside by the fire.
Y’all better get up
and come inside.
-Tobias be along soon.
-Tobias?
Y’all stay inside today.
I’ll be back by supper.
Here’s a little corn pone cake
for you.
So… why New Bern?
It’s closer than Virginia.
The Union’s held
a garrison post there
the last couple of years.
At least, if it hasn’t fallen
back to the Confederacy
in the last five months.
-You trust these slaves?
-Hadn’t thought not to.
I don’t like
the way they look at us.
If it wasn’t for Mary-Ellen,
we’d still be lost.
But when we go out tonight,
when we get let out,
we won’t be able to see nothing,
we won’t know where we’re going.
That is a risk.
Well?
It’s a risk we have to take.
I like your pipe.
I thought that was
in my haversack.
I used to have one of these.
Used to?
It was a bad hand.
There are no good gamblers,
Tom.
[door opens]
Youse had a good day?
Laying up in here in the shade?
-Nice and cool, I reckon.
-Yeah, mostly. You?
Didn’t catch a beating,
so it was a good day.
After we eat, we go.
Hey, you sure you don’t
want me to come with you?
No. Fewer people come,
the better. Safer that way.
It’s gonna be a while
before we can light this.
Can’t have people seeing us.
Ain’t no one used this boat
in a while.
-Very much appreciated.
-Y’all just be careful
out there.
Now, follow the river till you
come to a big fork,
then follow the big fork
upstream. That’ll take
you back North.
Thank you, Samuel. Now,
get back safe to your family.
[Joseph] That Little Pee Dee?
[Tom] Yeah, it has to be.
If we go any further south,
we will be in Florida.
Straight.
-[man] Got any coffee?
-[man #2] Yeah, but it’s cold.
Fire feels good.
Mm.
-Yep.
-Mm.
I think we’re clear
of the Secesh.
I don’t want to risk it.
We’ve come at least two miles,
Joseph.
-And besides, I’m exhausted.
-Tom, I’m as tired as you are.
Oh, it’s our lucky night,
Joseph.
Tom, we don’t know
whose barn that is.
I could sure use a bed of straw
instead of roots and rocks.
Look at the size of it.
No one will know we’re here.
Besides, we’ll be gone
before anyone’s the wiser.
Tom!
You coming?
[horse whinnies]
[rattling]
Gentlemen!
I said gentlemen!
What are you gentlemen
doing on my land?
Forgive us, ma’am,
we had no knowledge
that this was your property.
Well, it is, and I could shoot
you for trespassing.
We are ready quickly,
and we’ll be on our way.
You will not see the likes
of us again.
-Just where are you from?
-Pardon?
Yankees. Yes?
No, no, uh, nope.
We are from Kansas, and we
are on our way to Charleston
to buy slaves at the market.
It’s a terrible sin
to tell such a lie.
You’re a long way from home,
I dare say.
You’ll have
to forgive my friend, ma’am.
And why is that?
We’ve hardly eaten for…
going on a week now,
and probably delirious
from hunger.
You are solders, yes?
In the Union Army?
Whether presently
or formerly?
Your silence betrays you.
I cannot abide
to see men starving
on their way through this,
my plantation estate.
You shall follow me up
to the house and be treated
as any other guest
who might pass through this
small part of the world.
-Ma’am?
-You are travelers, yes?
Weary, yes?
Well, I may live
in South Carolina,
but I was born a Virginian.
And I intend to offer,
as is my sacred duty,
all the hospitality
that is due and proper.
But as you say,
we are Union soldiers.
There it is.
Well, the war is a rather
great distance away.
And in your present state,
I see no impending danger.
You would cause no harm to
a poor widow and her children.
Now, would you?
Therefore, you shall
follow me presently.
Perhaps I should remind you
that if you are not my guests,
then you are trespassers,
and I would be required
to fire upon you.
Your name, sir?
-[horse whinnies]
-Thomas Ryan.
Joseph Hoover, ma’am.
Pleased to make your
acquaintance, Mr. Hoover.
Mr. Ryan. You may address me
as Mrs. Macintosh.
And this is my boy, Jim.
Come along.
[voices singing spiritual]
Grandma!
My boy.
-Mother?
-Daughter.
Come inside, gentlemen.
Well, by the look of you,
I dare say you would benefit
from a bath.
-Martha?
-[woman] Yes, ma’am?
See that these men
are cared for and a bath
is drawn for each.
And find some suitable clothing
to replace their rags.
Mother, is everything all right?
Everything is all right.
Gentlemen, come
and take your seats.
May I present my daughter,
Elise?
How do you do?
-Morgan.
-How do you do?
Elise’s son, Mark.
These are Mr. Hoover,
Mr. Ryan.
They are our guests
indefinitely.
-Pleasure to meet you, sirs.
-Likewise.
I trust you’ve found the
attire laid out to you
to be of your liking?
-Very much, thank you.
-We won’t be staying very long.
Mr. Hoover can speak
for himself.
[laughs]
Why, certainly he may.
Nevertheless, you are
welcome for as long as you
wish to remain.
Thank you kindly.
And so,
as I happen to be
a great lover of good stories,
please, I am just dying
to know
how a pair of Yankee soldiers
have found themselves
as my company
at my table this evening.
We escaped the hands
of our oppressors.
Escaped? Wherever from?
Florence. It’s a terrible
stockade with nearly
1,000 prisoners
confined to a small area.
We were held at gunpoint
and forced to live
in filth and squalor.
Goodness. Well, tell me,
as I’m well acquainted
with the reasons and arguments
for our own Southern gentlemen
to enter this war,
what are the most compelling
arguments that have
sustained you
throughout your involvement
in the present conflict?
For the same reasons, I expect.
Each of us must fight
for what we believe in.
Ma’am, if you don’t mind,
we are tired of the war,
and as your supper
looks superb,
I hate to spoil my appetite
any further.
Oh, how callous of me.
Enough of politics and war.
Gentlemen.
Well, isn’t this a rare luxury?
Brandy?
-Why, thank you.
-Yes, thank you.
To what shall we toast?
Why, to an end to war,
of course.
Sounds like a wonderful toast.
Whatever it will bring,
to peace and an end to war.
-To peace.
-To peace.
[thunder rumbles]
[panting] Sir, get up!
Get up!
-What’s wrong?
-Quick. Mrs. Macintosh,
-she be fetching…
-Is breakfast so soon?
No, no such thing. They coming
to collect the reward on you.
Reward? What reward? What?
-You’s escaped Yankees?
-Yes.
Well, they coming for you.
They gonna turn you in,
collect some sort
of reward money. I…
Why should I trust you?
She’s been so good to us.
Sir, that’s just her way,
she had to make sure
y’all wouldn’t leave
‘fore she go fetch help.
Now, you– you needs to hurry!
Meet me downstairs.
Wake Tom.
-Hey!
-Tom! Tom!
-[grunting]
-Shh, shh!
Quiet, quiet. Shh!
Where are the others?
-Where are the other two?
-[grunting]
They turned back a while ago.
I can’t die, I reckon!
I’m sorry!
-Please don’t kill me!
-Shh, shh!
You must go, you go on home,
all right?
You’re gonna go back on home.
-Tell them you lost our trail.
-[whimpering]
Let’s go.
Tell them you dropped these.
-Contraband.
-What?
Contraband, that’s what I is.
Try to help,
do right by the Lord.
I ain’t mean to get seen.
Come on, Jim, how’s that arm?
-Can I take a look at it?
-Suppose it’ll be fine.
It’s a little sore, but they
ain’t shoot me real good.
Why did you help us?
It seemed like
a Christian thing to do.
We’re strangers to you, Jim.
What’s it to you?
Y’all been captives.
That’s what some
of them slaves said.
Said they heard y’all talking.
They’d have taken you back.
Throwed you in chains,
and I’ve been in chains before.
Know what that is,
and it ain’t nothing
no man should endure.
But I had a good life…
took care of the horses,
I ain’t get no more beatings.
It seemed like a pleasant home.
Except she deceived us.
I mean, she brings us in,
treats us nice,
and she deceives us.
She is just looking out
for her own, sir.
Don’t you blame her none
’cause she a good woman.
You didn’t have to run, Jim.
Could have told them
you were chasing us
just like the rest of them.
I ran, that’s it.
-Now you’re free.
-Free.
Free… free to get killed
when we’s caught.
We all free, every one of us,
free to die.
Let’s just not get caught.
Whoa! Whoo! [whooping]
[dogs barking in distance]
They’s the hounds.
They’s the hounds!
They gonna find us. You hear
that? They gonna find us!
-What?
-They gonna find us!
[grunting] The hounds,
they gonna find us!
Shh! If you run,
they will catch on.
-We gotta go!
-Keep quiet, you darkie!
You’re gonna make ’em hear us,
bring ’em right down on us.
Jim, listen, it’s okay.
We’re all here.
We’re all in this together.
[shouting in distance]
Let’s keep moving.
You reckon we oughta
try fishing today?
We haven’t tried yet.
Water’s still running high
and fast.
Been raining two days.
Yeah, but at least
it’s not raining now.
Hey, wet, dry, it doesn’t
matter, I’m starving,
-and this Negro can’t fish.
-Cool down, Tom.
Neither can you.
Hey, wait, wait, wait.
What is that?
Good, there’s a boat.
I know this place.
I was born not too far
from here.
And I ain’t been back here
in a long time.
Well, where do we go?
There’s a plantation
not too far from here.
We can go get some food
from them.
No, we know how that
turned out last time.
I’m not going
to another plantation.
Whole county is probably
looking for us.
We ask slaves.
Come on.
-We did that last time.
-Follow me, Mr. Tom.
Jim, you know this place?
It’s the same as I remember.
You been here before?
[woman] Thought I heard…
No, can’t be.
Is that you, Mama?
Jim? Jim Young?
-My baby.
-Yeah.
-I can’t believe!
-Mama!
[laughs]
Thought I’d never
see you again!
-Oh!
-Oh…
They carried you away,
how… how long?
[sobbing]
Eighteen years.
Oh…
I got old, Jim.
-No.
-Jim, we all did.
Beautiful, Mama.
These your new masters?
No, uh, they’s Yankee
Union soldiers.
Mama, I helps them escape.
You what?
You did?
You… you escaped?
-Yes, Mama.
-You contraband, Jim!
You got to get away now,
you’s in danger!
Mama, please!
I ain’t see you in years.
And we hungry.
Can you spare anything?
They’s Union soldiers.
They gotta get back
to the Union, Mama.
They gotta keep fighting.
Simon’s the overseer, Jim.
Simon’s coming. He mean!
Simon?
Simon, he won’t understand.
He changed, that boy changed.
He’ll give you a real lashing.
Okay, Mama, we’ll go.
But can we come back?
We’s mighty hungry.
Please.
Come on, get inside.
Get in here, quick.
Thank you, Mama.
-Thank you.
-Shh!
Hush up, Mr. Union man!
You’re gonna get us beat
and killed.
Simon’s coming, he’ll see.
Here, Jim, you have to go.
Thank you, Mama.
He’s coming. Now, be quiet.
I’ll try… I’ll try
and keep him busy.
Mama, stay calm.
Everything gonna be fine.
[man] Dora,
what is wrong with you?
[Dora] Nothing’s wrong,
everything’s fine.
Here’s something to eat,
I’m sure you’re hungry.
Please have something.
Oh, no, it’s much too stuffy
inside that old cabin.
[man] But I wanna sit down.
[Dora] Oh, no,
I’ll get you a stool.
[man] Dora,
what’s gotten into you?
-I’ll get it myself.
-Oh, no, please
I’ll get you a stool
from inside… No!
[man] I said
I’ll get the stool myself.
Who are you?
Uh, we’re travelers,
looking for a place to rest
our head for a short bit.
-We’ll be gone shortly.
-Travelers?
-Travelers.
-Get out here!
Master Davis.
Found these travelers
up in the cabin here.
Travelers? Indeed.
Looks to me like Dora
was hidin’ ’em.
Is that right, Dora?
Hiding stowaways from me now?
You know that ain’t
gonna be tolerated.
No! Get off of me!
[grunting]
Hey! You boys better
start talking real quick,
’cause I ain’t a man known
for the virtue of patience.
Let’s just hold on a minute.
We’re on our way back
from Kansas.
We were just coming back
from Charleston
where we bought
this here slave.
He’s ours, and we own him.
So let us go,
we won’t cause no trouble.
I ain’t sure I believe all that.
What you think, son?
Sound like a lie.
Drop the whip, nigger.
Now, I believe you boys owe me
for staying on my property.
I’ll take the slave as payment.
No, you can’t take him.
You got something
to say to me, boy?
I think this is
a pretty good deal.
You boys get to walk
without a bullet to the head,
and I’ll take the slave
as payment.
You boys a long ways
from home anyway.
Best be gettin’
on down the road.
Jim!
No, master Daniel, please!
I thought I asked
for quiet from you!
-[Jim] No, Mama!
-No, Jim, Jim! Jim, no!
[Jim] Mama?
Mama. [sobbing] Mama.
Mama?
-Mama?
-Mama.
Well, I’ll be.
Hey there, Jim.
Don’t that beat all, son.
That’s your long lost brother.
Boy, didn’t I sell you
to the Macintoshes?
What’s he doing getting bought
down in Charleston, then?
He weren’t bought in Charleston.
These boys are liars.
Kansas ain’t exactly
a slave state, now is it?
Well, sure it is.
We’re taking him there now.
-You killed her.
-They buy you, boy?
-You a runaway? Contraband?
-You killed her!
When are you people
ever gonna learn?
-You ain’t never gonna be free.
-I is too free!
No, you ain’t, boy!
Is he, Simon?
Tell you what.
How ’bout some right treatment
for old times’ sake?
Ah!
[grunting]
Come on!
Run!
Get in the boat!
Get in!
[indistinct chatter]
What are you doing
just standing here?
-I can’t swim, master.
-You can’t swim?
You can’t swim?
I ought to drown you.
Isn’t that something?
Come all this way
to get shot at some river?
Were you hit?
-Jim. Jim. Jim, you okay?
-[wheezing]
Jim! Hang in there. Okay?
We gotta find a place
to rest tonight.
Okay, Jim, come on, get up.
-Come on, big fella.
-Get up.
Come on, get up. Come on.
Who’s there?
Uh, friends.
We’re two Yankee soldiers
and one of your own.
We need food and shelter
and the Negro’s in shock.
Where you from?
We escaped from the Secession.
We’re heading back to the Union.
What are Yankees
doing in the South?
The war done come here?
We escaped from a prison camp
and this one is a runaway,
tried to help us.
Please.
Never thought I’d see the day.
Well, come on over here
and get by the fire.
Anna, bring out
a blanket for this one.
You can get you and eat you
some yams and stew.
And fetch ’em
some pone cakes.
He watched his mother
get beaten to death.
We all saw it.
Her master caught her
trying to hide us.
That’s an awful thing.
But you must trust
that the Lord giveth
and the Lord taketh away.
To live is to suffer.
And yet, we’ll do most
anything to survive.
It’s strange, isn’t it?
We just have
to do the best we can.
That act of defiance,
harboring you three,
was probably the freest thing
that poor man’s mother
ever did.
I think I broke his nose.
That man who did it to her.
And I tell ya what.
I wish I’d killed him.
There’s a certain kind of
freedom is in those flames.
If you watch them close…
they do what they will.
They going this way and that.
But they can’t go too far
without going out.
You want to make New Bern.
Yeah, that’s what we figure.
Heard there’s
a Union garrison over there.
There’s a lot of freed
and escaped slaves
help folks
out along the way.
Follow directions,
you’ll be all right.
[music plays]
Looks like our tree.
On a hill next to a wall.
Just like that Negro
said it would be.
Ain’t that something?
Wonder where he is.
He’ll be here.
Well, nothing to do now,
but…
wait.
Your mother
was a strong woman.
My mother passed
when I was young.
There was 13 of us,
plus my pa.
So we took care
for each other.
But my two older sisters,
they did most of the mothering
after she was gone.
All due respect, Mr. Joseph.
You ain’t never seen your mama
get beaten to death.
Jim, I’m sorry.
I’s the only one of my mama’s.
She miscarried five, six times
‘fore I was born.
Then Master Daniel sold me
away when I was 12.
Left her all alone.
It’s a terrible thing.
I feel terrible
for what happened.
Why’d it happen?
Why’d I have to go back?
She’d still be alive
if I ain’t never go back.
Maybe it’s like
that old slave said.
“The Lord works
in His own ways.”
How is this the Lord’s way?
Your mother made
a great sacrifice.
You have a greater purpose now.
We all do.
Jim, where you going?
A creek up the way.
I’m thirsty.
Well here, take this then.
Bring us back some firewood in
case he’s not here before dark.
[man] Easy, boys.
[man #2] Did y’all have
a nice nap?
What are y’all doing here
in a known
Negro meeting place, huh?
Hi there, boys.
Just taking a nap
under this here tree.
If I didn’t know better,
I’d say you is a Yank.
-Where you from?
-From Maine, actually.
Is that a crime here now
in South Carolina?
This here’s North Carolina.
You probably can’t
tell the difference,
seeing as how you’s
from the North.
This is North Carolina.
Near Kenansville,
up yonder maybe. Half a day.
Why you talking so much?
And what are y’all doing here?
Like I said, gentlemen,
resting under this here tree.
Now, unless I missed my guess,
that is against no law,
not even here
in Confederate territory.
-No, it’s not.
-[grunts]
Now, what are y’all
doing so far from home? Huh?
We are on
a little business trip.
My partner and I, we’re
on our way to Charleston.
[grunting]
Don’t move. Don’t move.
-[exhales]
-[Joseph] You okay, Tom?
Tom?
-Tom!
-Yeah, still breathing.
-How’s that head?
-How do you expect?
It’s fine.
-Jim, how you holding up?
-I be fine.
If you start
with that rebel yell,
we’ll be forced to shoot you.
Which regiment you with?
What’s your regiment?
Sixth Battalion, North Carolina
Cavalry, Company A.
-Where are your horses?
-We left ’em in town.
Came out to find some Negro
we heard talk of.
Where’s your company now?
Answer, or my friend
may shoot you.
Well now, that is contrary to
the rules of civilized warfare.
I am your prisoner.
You cannot shoot me.
I’ve seen my share
of the Rebels’ appreciation
for the rules of war.
We spent over four months
in Andersonville.
You may have heard of it.
Suffered horribly from your
so-called hospitality.
-You killed two of us!
-I’ll kill one more.
Killing is never pleasant.
Let’s not have to do more of it.
[sighs] Our company
is stationed in Kinston.
It’s a few hours’ ride
from here.
So what are you
doing out here?
We was just scouts.
Outliners.
We was on patrol.
On patrol?
And here you say you were
looking for a Negro.
We were gonna meet
someone here.
I knew you
was contraband escaped!
You two are helping
a Negro runaway.
[laughs]
See, it don’t matter no how.
We done killed your Negro
that’s helping.
[laughing]
You got nowhere to go to now.
Broke that link in your chain.
[laughs]
[quietly]
Tom, get the rope.
Jim, hand me
this fella’s clothes.
Give us an hour.
If I hear you hollering,
I will come back and shoot you.
Your friends will
be along soon enough.
Understood?
-This is intolerable.
-Yes, it is.
I still think we ought
to just shoot him.
Be safer. What if someone
comes and wanders along?
Which way to New Bern?
I will not ask you again.
It’s northeast of here.
Maybe three days.
[spits]
Here.
Just a minute.
I’ma stay with him.
Jim, you can’t stay here.
You’ll get caught.
I keeps him quiet for you.
‘Sides, somebody
gotta go on back,
warn others that Confederates
know about that tree.
You’re contraband, Jim.
They will hang you.
I know.
But it’s like Mr. Joseph say,
we all got a purpose.
I couldn’t free my mama.
But they’s other folks
that needs helping.
It does seem there are
quite a few escaped slaves
helping others to freedom.
I ain’t mean to be one
of them, but I is.
I ain’t mean to run away.
I ain’t terrible religious.
But it seems God has chosen
this new path for me.
You’ll need this.
Never forget you, Jim.
You’re the bravest man
I’ve ever known.
Thank you, Mr. Joseph.
Thanks, Jim.
Take care of yourself.
We wouldn’t have come
this far without you.
Here.
Protect yourself.
[indistinct shouting]
[man] They’re off the ridge!
-[man] Hold fire.
-[man #2] Hold.
[Joseph] We can’t just walk up
through the line.
These uniforms
may look familiar,
but they’ll know
we’re not one of them.
Should we just go around?
No, they’ll take us
for deserters.
Well, you better come up
with a better suggestion
’cause I can’t keep
moving on like this.
Well…
If the rebs are up there,
the Union… the Union’s gonna
be right behind that hill.
[man whispers] Hey, quiet down.
We’re under orders.
Ain’t you boys suppose
to up in the picket?
No sir,
we’re with another company.
Which company?
I ain’t heard no one
supposed to be down here.
We’re scouts. Outriders.
Yeah, I know what scouts is.
Which company?
7th Battalion
North Carolina Cavalry.
There ain’t no 7th
North Carolina Calvary no more.
Hey, Union in the picket!
Union in the mine!
[man] I see ’em!
[man] Reload!
-7th? They were with the 6th.
-I couldn’t remember.
Well, we’re sitting ducks now.
Liable to get killed
by both sides.
-God Almighty!
-Hello!
Who’s there?
Identify yourself.
We Yanks.
Union boys, just like you.
You planning some trickery
there? You’re wearing
Confederate uniforms.
Take the jackets off.
They’ll never let us through.
[stammers] We escaped.
Stole ’em off some scouts
aways back.
We’re unarmed.
My name’s Thomas J. Ryan.
Corporal 17th
Maine Volunteer Infantry.
Joseph Hoover.
121st Regiment from New York.
Well, come on then, quick!
It’s incredible. Every day
we get slaves coming in.
Every day.
Sometimes by the score.
There’s getting
to be so many of them,
Mr. James don’t know how
to keep ’em all happy
over at the Trent River camp.
Ain’t never had Union boys
coming up from
the Deep South though.
Listen up, lad,
you don’t know half the story.
We could fill a book
with all we’ve done.
-Ain’t that right, Joseph?
-Here, here.
-Maybe two.
-Yep.
No happen without no hardships.
No, sir.
You two are heroes.
And I bet you’ll get medals.
I tell you what,
I’d settle for a hot bath.
Here, here.
[horn blares]
He was a good man, Jim Young.
-I hope he is well.
-Best Negro I ever met.
Had more character to win a
medal than most people I know.
You’re doing
the right thing, Tom.
This Union cannot stand
until all men are free.
And it cannot hold together
unless each of us does our part.
You’re right.
Do you reckon that scout
buried his friends?
No. I figured he ran back
to his unit
with his tail between his legs.
That, or he deserted
out of shame
for his being brought low
by a slave.
You know,
the way I see it…
I don’t know the way I see it.
We’ve been through
hell together.
And it’s not over.
I do feel the tide
has turned, though.
I suspect so.
I have a few hours
before the ship departs.
Reckon I should
pay off some debts.
You take care of yourself,
Sergeant Thomas Ryan.
-I’ll be seeing you.
-And to you, Sergeant Hoover.
[music plays]

SPIN TO WIN!

  • Try your lucky to get discount coupon
  • 1 spin per email
  • No cheating
Try Your Lucky
Never
Remind later
No thanks