Manuscript/Mixed Material Image 1 of Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: National Freedman's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, May 29, 1863 (Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers)

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From National Freedmen's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, May 29, 1863

Whereas it is a matter of public information that Jefferson Davis, styled President of the so-called Confederate States has issued a proclamation relative to the officers and members of colored regiments, as cruel and anti-Christian in spirit as it is repugnant to all rules of civilized warfare:1

1 In General Orders No. 111, dated December 24, 1862, Jefferson Davis ordered that captured officers of black regiments were not to be treated as prisoners of war. Instead, they were to be prosecuted under state laws governing servile insurrection—a crime punishable by death. The general orders also stipulated that captured black soldiers were to be returned to slavery. Lincoln replied to these threats with his own order of retaliation. For every Union prisoner of war that was executed, a like number of Confederate prisoners would suffer the same fate. For each captured Union soldier that was returned to slavery, a Confederate prisoner would be put to hard labor. For the texts of these orders, see Official Records, Series II, Volume 5, 795-97 and Collected Works, VI, 357.

Whereas it continues to be represented that the public journals and by private letters until there can be no doubt of the fact, that federal Officers of the Army and Navy, having asked and obtained the aid of colored men as scout, spies and laborers, especially in securing supplies and valuable contraband property, then abandon them to the savage mercies of their masters, and to death at their hands:

Whereas Colored men who have escaped from slavery under rebel masters and are legally free according to the proclamation of the President of January 1st, are taken and sold into slavery for jail fees, in the border states, especially in Kentucky, in positive violation of the spirit if not the letter of said Proclamation, therefore:

Resolved, That we the undersigned committee of the National Freedman's Association, while we have witnessed with the liveliest interest the many benificent measures the Government has instituted in behalf of this unfortunate race, we would most respectfully and earnestly call the attention of Your Excellency and of the public authorities to this important and humane subject. That some proper and so far as feasible, sufficient means be taken to place the officers and men of colored regiments in the same relations as those of white regiments. That common humanity, enlightened policy and our national good name demand this.

Resolved That we urgently request that prompt and adequate orders be given our officers of the Army and Navy, not only not to repulse, but in all cases to call to their aid and fully protect all colored people in the same spirit and manner that they would whites, recognizing the great truth that the rights of justice and law belong to the man and not to his outward circumstances nor to his color.

Resolved That national honor and interest are alike pledged to the colored man and before the world, to the faithful enforcement of the President's Proclamation throughout the states and territories up to the full measure of the final freedom of those in whose behalf it was put forth. Less than this would be a fearful exhibition of national bad faith and justly calculated to provoke the rightious indignation of all good men and the displeasure of the Sovereign Ruler of the world.

Resolved That we hail with delight the benevolent action of the Government and its firm exhibition of moral courage in the face and in spite of the obstinate pejudice of the age, also the encouraging advance of public sentiment and their combined willingness practically to acknowlege that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Resolved That if we are, as a nation or as individuals would invoke the favor of Almighty God and be shielded and delivered from the fearful calamities of his displeasure, we must ourselves do unto others as we would have them do unto us, love mercy & practice justice.

John C. Underwood2

2 Underwood was the fifth auditor of the Treasury Department in Washington.

President

N. DuBois

Secretary

Transcribed and annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College. Galesburg, Illinois.

About this Item

Title
Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916: National Freedman's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, May 29, 1863 (Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers)
Contributor Names
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
Created / Published
May 29, 1863
Subject Headings
-  United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
-  United States--Politics and government--1861-1865
-  Presidents--United States
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Notes
-  Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers
Call Number/Physical Location
series: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833-1916
Source Collection
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
Repository
Manuscript Division
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/ms000001.mss30189a.2376600
Online Format
online text
image
pdf
IIIF Presentation Manifest
Manifest (JSON/LD)

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress’s digital scans of the papers of Abraham Lincoln are in the public domain.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Abraham Lincoln Papers.

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Chicago citation style:

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: National Freedman's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, Friday,Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers. 1863. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mal2376600/.

APA citation style:

Lincoln, A. (1863) Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: National Freedman's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, Friday,Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mal2376600/.

MLA citation style:

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln papers: Series 1. General Correspondence. 1833 to 1916: National Freedman's Relief Association to Abraham Lincoln, Friday,Resolutions concerning treatment of black soldiers. 1863. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mal2376600/>.

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