In the spring of 1861, at the start of the Civil War, 20-year-old Hortense Prout made a daring bid for freedom from this site in Washington, DC, where she worked as an enslaved servant in the manor house of John Little. Little held 12 enslaved African Americans on his cattle farm, including 3 generations of the Prout family. Hortense fled during a time of great excitement in DC, as thousands of newly organized Union troops poured into the city to quell the rebel uprising in VA. We know of her escape only because the Washington Evening Star on June 17, 1861, reported on her capture: she was found in an encampment of OH soldiers, about 2 miles east of John Little's house. She was, according to the newspaper , "completely rigged out in male attire." As punishment, John Little put Hortense in the City Jail for "safekeeping," before taking her back to work in his home. Less than a year after her escape, President Lincoln in April 1862 declared all enslaved African Americans in DC free. Hortense Prout thus became one of the last Washingtonians who chose to risk her life to win freedom.
Visitor Information: Currently open to public.
Location: Kalorama Park, Kalorama Road & 19th St., NW, Washington, 00000
National Park Unit: No
Ownership: Washington DC Director,Dept. Parks
Location Type: Site
People/Organizations Associated with the site: John Little (Owner)
Freedom Seekers: Hortense Prout