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Jump Back in Time Western Expansion & Reform (1829-1859)
Slave Auction at Richmond, Virginia, 1856.
Butler's slaves were sold in an auction similar to the one in this illustration

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The Largest Slave Auction
March 3, 1859

In spite of having inherited two plantations, Pierce M. Butler owed a great deal of money. Over two days, Butler auctioned off the human portion of his property to help pay off his debts. It was the largest sale of slaves on record in the United States, and it was referred to as "The Weeping Time."

The 436 men, women, children, and infants, all of whom had been born on his plantations, were brought to a racetrack in Savannah, Georgia, and put in the stalls used for horses. There they waited, some for days, others for weeks, for the auction to begin on March 3, 1859.

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