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“  always believed,” replied Mr. Wilson, “that the Congress of the United States, in time of war, when it was necessary to make our population most effective for the purposes of war, has the power; and has the power to liberate slaves by congressional enactment.” Mr. Harris, of Maryland, was fully convinced that this measure was presented and pressed, not to get soldiers; but “it is for the purpose, and that only, of interfering with and abolishing the institution called slavery.” Mr. Wilson would tell the gentleman the purpose of this act. “To-day, in the forefront of your army, are thousands of colored men risking everything for the salvation of this republic. And, sir, this republic cannot afford to disgrace itself in the eyes of the civilized world by sending these men out to fight its battles, and chaining at home their wives and children in that bondage which is worse than death. It would be a disgrace never to be wiped from the face of this nation if we should permit this wrong to continue.” Mr. Harris moved that the resolution be laid on the table — yeas, sixty-six; nays, seventy-seven. The question was taken, and it was decided in the affirmative — yeas, seventy-four; nays, sixty-three. So the joint resolution making free the wives and children of colored soldiers passed, and received, on the third of March, 1865, the approval of the President. Some months afterward, General Palmer, commanding the department of Kentucky, said in a public report, that seventy thousand women and children had been made free by the passage of this resolution. No. XCI.--Military Confirmations in the Senate. During the rebellion; the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses acted upon ten thousand eight hundred and ninety-one military nominations, ranging from second lieutenants up to Lieutenant-General Grant. These nominations imposed upon the Committee on Military Affairs vast labors, and required much time and attention of the Senate.
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