black soldiers had been captured.
Under the acts of the Confederate Congress they were outlaws, to be delivered to the State
authorities when captured, for trial; and the penalty of servile insurrection was death.
The fate of Captains Russel
was also unknown.
It was thought possible that they too were captured.
and the friends of the regiment therefore exerted themselves to have the Government
throw out its protecting hand over its colored soldiers and their officers in the enemy's hands.
Two sections were at once added to General Orders No. 100
of the War Department, relating to such prisoners, a copy of which was transmitted to the Confederate
commissioner, Robert Ould
The first set forth that once a soldier no man was responsible individually for warlike acts; the second, that the law of nations recognized no distinctions of color, and that if the enemy enslaved or sold the captured soldier, as the United States
could not enslave, death would be the penalty in retaliation.
The President also met the case in point involving the Fifty-fourth prisoners, by issuing the following proclamation: