Robert Smalls Escapes Slavery in a Stolen Confederate Ship – Drunk History
Articles,  Blog

Robert Smalls Escapes Slavery in a Stolen Confederate Ship – Drunk History


[belch] HI.
I’M MARK GAGLIARDI, AND TODAY WE’RE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT ROBERT SMALLS. [laughter] – WHEN ROBERT SMALLS
WAS 12 YEARS OLD, HIS FATHER, HENRY MCKEE,
THE PLANTATION OWNER, WAS LIKE, LISTEN, MY SON, THAT I’M NOT ALLOWED
TO TELL ANYBODY IS MY SON BUT REALLY,
YOU’RE MY SON. YOU ARE SPECIALER
THAN THE OTHER SLAVES. BUT YOU KEEP GETTING
IN TROUBLE. WE THINK THAT THE BEST THING
FOR YOU RIGHT NOW IS IF WE SEND YOU
TO CHARLESTON. AND ROBERT SMALLS IS LIKE,
OH, I’M SORRY. YOU’RE MY [bleep] SLAVE OWNER AND YOU’RE GOING TO SEND ME
TO CHARLESTON WHERE I CAN LEARN
AN ACTUAL BUSINESS TRADE? YEAH, THAT SOUNDS LIKE
A GOOD IDEA. AND HE SPENT SEVEN YEARS
BEING A CREWMAN ONBOARD ALL OF THESE
DIFFERENT VESSELS THAT TRAVELED AROUND
THESE CHARLESTON WATERWAYS, INCLUDING THE CONFEDERATE SHIP,
THEPLANTER.AT THIS POINT,
THE CIVIL WAR HAS BROKEN OUT. THE OFFICERS TURNED
TO ROBERT SMALLS AND THEY WERE LIKE,
LISTEN MAN. DON’T TELL ANYONE
WE’RE GOING TO GO ONSHORE. KEEP AN EYE ON THE SHIP
WHILE WE’RE GONE. AND ROBERT SMALLS IS LIKE,
SURE MAN, I [bleep] GOT THIS. YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT ME. AND ROBERT SMALLS THOUGHT
TO HIMSELF, THESE GUYS JUST WENT
TO GO GET SOME HOOKERS. THESE TWO OTHER GUYS, WHO AREN’T
THE GUYS GETTING HOOKERS, ALSO WENT TO GET HOOKERS. I BASICALLY HAVE THIS SHIP
TO MYSELF. HE SAYS, HEY MAN. THIS IS THE PERFECT OPPORTUNITY
FOR US TO STEAL THIS SHIP AND GET OVER
TO THE UNION SIDE. HERE’S WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO. GO GET MY FAMILY
AND GO ROUND UP THE FAMILY OF THE OTHER TWO SEAMEN
ON THIS VESSEL. AND I WILL BRING ALL OF US
TO FREEDOM. [laughter] – MARK.
– WHAT? – REMEMBER AT
THE BEGINNING OF THIS YOU SAID YOU WERE
NOT GOING TO– – I PROMISED YOU I WAS NOT GOING
TO LAY ON MY STOMACH TONIGHT. – AND WHAT HAPPENED? – PROBABLY THIS. I’M FIGHTING.
HERE I COME. – CUEEYE OF THE TIGER.
– ALL RIGHT. I ONLY DO THIS
IN HONOR OF ROBERT SMALLS. [groan] GOD DAMN IT,
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT? ONCE ROBERT SMALLS
HAD TAKEN CONTROL OF THE SHIP, SMALLS THOUGHT TO HIMSELF, I’M STILL GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE
IT PAST FIVE CONFEDERATE FORTS. LUCKILY, I LOOK ENOUGH LIKE
THE CAPTAIN WHEN I WEAR THE HAT
AND THIS JACKET. AND I HAVE
THE CONFEDERATE CODE BOOK, WHICH MEANS I KNOW
WHAT SIGNALS TO THROW THAT WILL GET US
THROUGH THE HARBOR. SO ROBERT SMALLS IS
PILOTING THE SHIP PAST CONFEDERATE TROOPS. SO HE GOT TO THE FIRST ONE
AND WAS LIKE, TOOT-TOOT-TOOT. AND THEY THOUGHT THERE’S A WHITE
GUY TRYING TO PASS THROUGH. LET’S JUST WAVE AT HIM. AND HE MADE IT THROUGH. [exhales] [chuckle] [exclaims] ALL RIGHT. SO HE MADE IT THROUGH
FIVE CONFEDERATE SIGNALS ALL THE WAY THROUGH
TO THE GATES OF FORT SUMTER. NOT ONLY DID THE GUYS
AT FORT SUMTER SAY, ALL RIGHT, LET’S LET
THEPLANTERTHROUGH, THE GUARD
AT FORT SUMTER SAID, HEY, YOU GO KILL YOURSELVES
A COUPLE OF YANKEES. AND IT WAS ONLY AT DAWN
THAT THE CONFEDERATES REALIZE, HEY, MAYBE THIS ISN’T QUITE
ON THE LEVEL. AND THEY START LOBBING
CANNON FIRE AND AS HE IS BARRELING
TOWARD UNION FORCES, HE THINKS, OH MY GOD. I’VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING
TO MAKE SURE THAT THESE UNION FORCES
DON’T THINK I AM COMING TO CONFRONT THEM. – ARE WE GONNA DO THIS THING
FROM THE FLOOR MAN, REALLY? – I WANT YOU TO BE COMFORTABLE,
SO WE’LL DO IT WHEREVER. – I’LL DO IT FROM THE FLOOR. AS HE IS BARRELING TOWARD
THESE UNION FORCES, SMALLS TURNS TO HIS WIFE
AND SAYS, I TOLD YOU TO BRING
A BED SHEET. DID YOU BRING A BED SHEET? SHE’S LIKE, HONEY,
I BROUGHT US A BREAD SHEET. – HEY MARK,
LET’S JUST HAVE SOME WATER. JUST TAKE A QUICK BREAK
AND JUST DRINK SOME WATER. – ARE WE GETTING IN A FIGHT? – NOT AT ALL.
– WHY–WHAT? – YOU’RE OKAY. – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW,
BABY? – THE NEXT PART. – HE HOISTED THE SHEET
AS A WHITE FLAG OF SURRENDER. HE PULLS UP TO
THEU.S.S. ONWARDAND SAYS, HEY MAN,
I HUNG–I HEAR UNCLE ABE COULD USE A TRANSPORT SHIP. THIS WAS A BIG DEAL. AND LINCOLN’S LIKE,
ALL RIGHT MAN. THAT’S GREAT.
HERE’S $1,500. HEY, HERE’S A QUICK QUESTION. DO YOU THINK THAT YOU COULD GET
SOME [bleep] UNION GUYS LIKE SOME–SOME–SOME
CELEBRI–SOME CELEBRITIES? WHA–WHAT’S THE WORD
I’M LOOKING FOR? SOME CELEBRATEDS. WHAT’S THE WORD I’M LOOKING FOR?
SOME, UM. – MARK. – AH-BA-BA-BA-BA.
HOLD ON. [snorts]
NOT CELEBRITIES. SOME SOLDIERS. HE WAS THE FIRST
TO ENLIST 5,000 BLACKS IN THE UNION ARMY. SO THE END OF
THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. CIVIL WAR…
[slurred, indistinct speech] AND HE HAD
JUST ENOUGH MONEY. – WHAT? – NOT ONLY DID ROBERT SMALLS
STEAL A BOAT AND [bleep] GET HIS FREEDOM. NOT ONLY DID HE SERVE FIVE TERMS
AS A U.S. CONGRESSMAN. AFTER THE WAR, ROBERT SMALLS
WENT INTO SOUTH CAROLINA AND SAID, HEY,
SEE THAT HOUSE OVER THERE? THAT’S THE HOUSE
I WANT TO BUY. WHICH HOUSE? THAT ONE. I’M GOING TO BUY
THE MCKEE HOUSE. THE LAST TIME THAT HE WAS
IN THAT HOUSE, HE WAS OWNED
BY ANOTHER PERSON. THIS TIME,
MOTHER[bleep] OWNED THE HOUSE. – MARK. – MM-HMM. – ROBERT SMALLS. – YEAH, MAN. – DO YOU LIKE HIM?
– I LOVE HIM.

100 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *