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[180] first inception. There were other groups of fugitives quite as large and similarly cared for in the East and South; yet Grant's enterprise afforded an object lesson and had a sensible completeness from the start.

While in camp on the Rappahannock at Falmouth, Va., I well remember the unusual excitement in our army upon the receipt of the remarkable preliminary proclamation of Mr. Lincoln, promulgated September 22, 1862. It was like Elisha's call on Mt. Carmel: “Choose ye this day whom ye will serve!” Officers and men did choose. The pregnant phrases of that proclamation have a voice which still resounds pleasantly in loyal ears: “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward and forever free.” This proclamation republished the new law which forbade the return of slaves and also the Confiscation Act, intended to punish treason and rebellion by the seizure of property and the freeing of slaves.

We were also further apprised at the same time of an additional step that Mr. Lincoln would soon take --a step which made all men who were hostile to his administration very angry. It was the formal avowal of his purpose, in his next message, to suggest to Congress what he believed to be an equitable method of the gradual abolishment of slavery altogether, not only in the States in insurrection, but in the border States which the friends of secession had failed to carry out of the Union, and among many people who had thus far cordially maintained our cause. How

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