By Kathleen Heyworth

William Freeman, born a slave in 1840 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, made his es-cape to freedom when the 1st Illinois Cavalry came through in 1861. Although not allowed to enlist in the U.S. Army that summer, he became “contraband” and a personal servant to Capt. John McNulta. Late in 1862, McNulta, who by then was Colonel of the 94th Illinois, asked Free-man to help escort a soldier’s remains home from Missouri to McLean County, Illinois, for burial.

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