Camp Stanton, located in Southern Maryland, was established in August 1863 for the purpose of recruiting and training African-American men of Maryland for service in the Union Army. At this site, ideally located in the heart of Maryland's slaveholding region, free blacks as well as formerly enslaved men formed the 7th, 9th, 19th, and 30th Colored Infantries as part of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). In addition to free blacks, the former owners of manumitted slaves were eligible to receive $300 in compensation if these slaveholders were loyal to the Union. The Bureau of Colored Troops could recruit without the master's consent if the county quota had not been met after 30 days. This led to a mass influx of freedom seekers joining the Union Army and obtaining their freedom.
According to James M. Califf, 2nd Lieutanant of Company F, 7th Regiment USCT "Recruits were taken wherever found, and as their earthly possessions usually consisted of but what they wore upon their backs, they required no time to setttle their affairs. The laborer in the field would throw down his hoe or quit his plow and march away with the guard, leaving his late owner looking after him in speechless amazement." Enlistement and service in the USCT, although dangerous, offered a chance for former slaves to not only gain their freedom, but to gain a rudimentary education and to earn and save money to buy property.