Visit the Corinth Contraband Camp
“Here a newly freed people took their unswerving first steps on the long road to full citizenship.”
These words greet visitors when they arrive at the Corinth Contraband Camp today. Located at 902 North Parkway, the camp serves as a memorial to the former slaves who resided and sought freedom here. It’s one of the top historical sites in Corinth, MS, and it gives you a chance to learn more about the life and important contributions of African Americans during the Civil War. If you’re in the city and are hoping to make a trip to the Corinth Contraband Camp, Visit Corinth covers everything you need to know here.
A Look Back at the Past
When you hear the word contraband, you usually think about illegal goods. In this case, however, contraband refers to people. After President Abraham Lincoln established the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, enslaved people started fleeing Southern plantations and farms in search of freedom up north. Many found their way to Union-occupied Corinth with the promise of freedom and protection. It was Union General Granville Dodge who set up the Corinth Contraband Camp as a refuge for the freedom seekers
As the camp grew, homes were built, along with a church, school and hospital. As many as 6,000 former slaves resided here, where they learned to read and made a living selling cotton and vegetables. General Dodge enlisted them to become teamsters, cooks, laborers and security. About 1,000 of the freedmen would even go on to make up the 1st Alabama Regiment of African Descent under the direction of General Dodge, giving them the chance to protect their new way of life they’d grown to love. The regiment was later renamed as the 55th United States Colored Troops.
The camp continued on until December 1863, when it was relocated to Memphis, TN. But to this day, the Corinth Contraband Camp is recognized as the freedmen’s first step on the road to freedom.
Corinth Contraband Camp Today
The Corinth Contraband Camp is a beautiful, sprawling park lined with large trees. There’s a quarter-mile paved walkway that takes you to each of the six life-size bronze sculptures. The sculptures depict the men, women and children who inhabited the camp between November 1862 and December 1863 as they lived, worked and learned. Historical markers along the way offer facts and quotes to help you reflect on this integral piece of Corinth history. Parking and benches are available, and dogs are welcome. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn a little history while enjoying a nice walk amidst the beauty of nature.
Open daily from dawn to dusk
902 North Parkway
Plan Your Visit
If you’d like more information or directions to the Corinth Contraband Camp, please feel free to contact Visit Corinth, your resource for all the historical attractions in and around the city. To make your visit that much better, we recommend you also visit the Crossroads Museum and the Shiloh National Military Park just across the border in Shiloh, Tennessee. Download our Visitor’s Guide for a complete list of things to do in Corinth, MS, plus the best restaurants, lodging, shopping, events and more that the area has to offer.