Born into slavery on Isle of Wight, one of Georgia’s Sea Islands, then Susie King was raised primarily by her grandmother in Savannah. Attending a clandestine school for blacks, she learned to read and write as a child. At fourteen, using the confusion created by the assault on Fort Pulaski, she escaped with an uncle to Union forces and freedom.
She found employment with the 1st SC Volunteers as a laundress and an unofficial teacher. At the age of fourteen, she married Edward King, one of the regiment’s soldiers. She later served at Hospital #10 as an unofficial nurse following the regiment’s campaigns in Florida and the assault on Battery Wagner.
Following the Civil War, she became a widow at only 18. She supported herself teaching school for several years before writing her autobiography, one of the few accounts of slave life and the Civil War from a black perspective.
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