Besides manual labour, slaves performed many domestic services, and might be employed at highly skilled jobs and professions. Greek slaves in particular might be highly educated.Unskilled slaves, or those sentenced to slavery as punishment, worked on farms, in mines, and at mills.
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The Lincoln administration wrestled with the idea of authorizing the recruitment of black troops, concerned that such a move would prompt the border states to secede. David Hunter (photo citation: 111-B-3580) in South Carolina issued proclamations that emancipated slaves in their military regions and permitted them to enlist, their superiors sternly revoked their orders.
By mid-1862, however, the escalating number of former slaves (contrabands), the declining number of white volunteers, and the increasingly pressing personnel needs of the Union Army pushed the Government into reconsidering the ban.