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At three o'clock on the morning of May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls, an enslaved man working for the Confederate army, risked his life and those of his crew and family. He ordered the sidewheel steamer known as the Planter to fire up its boilers. Robert had piloted the ship many times from its mooring in Charleston Harbor under orders from Confederate Captain Charles Relyea. But this time, only slaves were on board.