Henry McDuell was more than just one of the “Southern sympathizers,” as described in the Jan. 25 Real Estate article about his expansive 19th-century manor now up for sale in Frederick County, “A home with a Civil War history.” He was also a slave owner.

By 1850, when the article said McDuell built the grand brick house featuring 10 fireplaces, amid several outbuildings, some surviving today from the 1700s, four people, including a 7-month-old boy, were enslaved on the farm. The article is silent about this aspect of the elegant manor’s origins.

Yet the enslaved people were clearly if anonymously listed by age and sex on an addendum to the national census that same year, known as “Schedule 2 — Slave Inhabitants.” McDuell was listed also, as “slave owner.” A decade later, and two years before his home became a Union Army field hospital, as highlighted in the article, the census listed McDuell again, this time with five enslaved people, including another infant, all once more anonymous except for their age and sex. Despite their anonymity, these enslaved people remain part of the manor’s past and present. Their descendants are possibly alive today.

The article’s omission, while otherwise extolling a selective history and the many physical attractions of a multimillion-dollar property, appeared to sidestep an embarrassment. In doing so, it contributes to the United States’ perpetual sin — a collective amnesia about the reality of slavery.

Brian J. Porter, North Potomac