This selection is actually two short stories put together. These were enjoyable reading for me. They kept my attention the entire time... for once.
Short but sweet here's the scoop on these writings:
First story was about a war captain, Captain Ward, going to war to fight against the rebels who don't want to succumb to slavery. Mrs Ward. has to explain his absence to her son and they are inspired by his patriotism.
Second story was about a painter who comes home to his family and is barged in on by some kind of police who arrest him for being fugitive. He is taken to Georgia and sold into slavery.
This story is ironic because the first story is a wealthy white family who's patriarch goes to fight against the protagonist in the second story. While Captain Ward is praised and held in the highest standard by his friends and family, the painter is arrested for nothing other than the color of his skin. Stowe is using her writing to make a point here, just as she did with Uncle Tom's Cabin.
After some research, i found out that this was in response to the fugitive slave law. This law reqwuired that all fugitive slaves be brought back to their masters. It was conroversial because those who did manage to run away were always going to be in fear of being captured.