Whipping Negroes in Illinois.

Whipping Negroes in Illinois.

Usage conditions apply
This print depicts a white man in a Union uniform, standing in a path and holding a whip as he confronts a group of five black men and one black women who are sitting and standing on a patch of grass. This illustration was used in an 1868 book, entitled Scraps from the Prison Table: At Camp Chase and Johnson's Island, by John Barbière, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Confederate Army. He was imprisoned at Johnson’s Island during the war and as he was being transported home in the fall of 1862, the author witnessed a "brawny man" of the "Puritan race" brutally beating several "Negroes who were basking in the sunshine" with a horse whip. Barbière claimed in all his years travelling in the South, he had never seen such inhumane treatment, remarking that “the slave has merely changed masters.” The ex-Confederate employed episodes such as this to challenge notions of Northern righteousness. Barbière wanted to inform his readers of his exposure to mistreatment of Confederate prisoners in Union jails, accounts of which were often overshadowed by post-war reports of the horrors of Andersonville Prison. Scraps from the Prison Table was published by W.W.H. Davis, a printer and historian from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, who had previously served as a colonel in the Union Army with the 104th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. This print and Barbière’s book, along with Northern prints of Andersonville prison, reveal a selection of the atrocities committed by both sides during the war, which were also documented in in the letters and diaries of thousands of soldiers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
date made
ca 1862-1868
place made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 4 in x 6 3/4 in; 10.16 cm x 17.145 cm
ID Number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Civil War
Uniforms, Military
African American
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object