He was commissioned as a Union officer during the Civil War, during which he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and served at the Battle of Vicksburg. Since in Virginia slave law, children born to enslaved mothers were considered slaves under the principle of partus sequitur ventrem : the slave status of a child followed that of his or her mother. Jefferson freed all of Hemings' surviving children:  Beverly, Harriet, Madison, and Eston, as they came of age ; they were the only slave family freed by Jefferson. Jefferson's sexual relationship with Hemings was first reported in by one of Jefferson's enemies, a political journalist named James T. Both Madison and Eston Hemings married free women of color in Charlottesville. New York: Macmillan, , pp. His entire estate, including the people he enslaved, was sold to repay his debts.