previous next

“ [172] been driven or allowed to flee from the Confederate States.”

Butler would have had no doubt on this question had he not seen an order issued by General Irvin McDowell substantially forbidding all fugitive slaves from coming within his lines or being harbored there. If left to his own discretion he would have taken a widely different course from that which McDowell's order indicated. In a loyal State he would put down a servile insurrection. In a State in rebellion he would confiscate that which was used to oppose our arms, and take all that property which constituted the wealth of that State, and furnished the means by which the war was prosecuted, besides being the cause of the war; and if, in so doing, it should be objected that human beings were brought to the free enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, such objection would not require much consideration.

Our President and Congress diligently studied all the phenomena, noticed the gradual clearing of the skies, and in some fitting manner, by proclamations and by timely acts of legislation, helped to drive away the remaining mists from men's minds and hearts.

An Act of Congress, approved March 13, 1862, created a new Article of War. It prohibited all persons in the military service from employing the forces under their command to return slaves to claiming owners and provided trial by court-martial and the penalty of dismissal for its violation. This was a legal step that the friends of freedom hailed with no little satisfaction.

Thus legislation after a germinating period had emphasized and enforced the better view, and all commanders had been gradually brought to treat as freedmen

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Irvin McDowell (2)
B. F. Butler (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 13th, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: