Quickly and quietly, Robert Smalls headed the ship out of the Charleston Harbor. Across the wide river was the Northern Army and freedom for slaves like him. On Robert's side of the river was the Southern Army and Robert's master. Robert knew his master would never give him freedom. Now was his chance to escape. Robert steered the ship into the open water. He could see the nearby forts of the Southern Army and their cannons ready to fire. The Southern soldiers would capture Robert if they could. Could he sail across hidden by the darkness of night? Could he pass by in disguise?