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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: January 2020

Chapter 3 - Sale and Transportation


After a protracted bidding war, William H. Williams’ agent, Rudolph Littlejohn, purchased Alfred and twenty–six other enslaved convicts out of the Virginia State Penitentiary in Richmond, under an agreement to carry them outside the United States for sale. The convicts were conveyed to the Yellow House and confined there until marched to the coastal slaving vessel the Uncas for transport. After the slave ship set sail, Alexandria mayor Bernard Hooe, a friend of Alfred’s master, expressed his suspicions to Virginia governor Thomas Walker Gilmer that the convict slaves would be sold within the United States, contrary to Virginia law. Gilmer alerted authorities in Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, Louisiana, to be on the lookout for Williams and his shipment of enslaved felons. When Williams arrived in Mobile Bay and explained to mayor Edward Hall that he was taking the slaves to Texas for sale, Hall denied the slave dealer entry into the city but permitted him to continue on his journey.