previous next

[727] in arms against the Union were not to be surrendered to their masters, these slaves would have to be successively cared for, set to work and enrolled. But for the present hardly more was thought of than to feed them and give them something to do. Accustomed to spend their time without any forethought, liberty being to them a synonymous term for idleness, they required the controlling guardianship of the Federal authority. The largest number of refugees was to be found at Fortress Monroe, and General Wool, who commanded this place, was obliged, in the month of November, to publish a series of orders regulating their work and wages, whether in the service of the State or of officers, fixing the price of their clothing, and establishing a fund in their favor, formed by keeping back a portion of their wages. In Missouri, however, General Halleck seemed to make it a point to act in every respect in a manner contrary to his predecessor. The latter had received the slaves and sought to enfranchise them on his own personal authority. Halleck forbade the fugitives to approach his camps under the pretext that they gave information to the enemy, and ordered his troops to drive them off, but this order was never strictly executed, for the soldiers, more logical than their chiefs, were gradually becoming swayed by the abolition sentiment, in proportion as they saw their foes mixing up the cause of slavery with that of the Confederacy. The government, faithfully following the line of policy it had traced out for itself, exacted certain explanations from the commander of the armies of the West, which amounted to a positive disavowal of the orders he had just issued. Meanwhile, Congress again met on the 1st of December. The Republican majority had received some additional strength since the last session, and could not fail to consider again, although indirectly, the great problem of slavery. The Secretary of War, in his report to Congress, had intended to recommend the emancipation of all the slaves whose masters had been connected with the rebellion but Mr. Lincoln, more prudent and sagacious than his Secretary, thought that the time for resorting to such a measure had not yet arrived, and only allowed him to allude to the treatment of fugitive slaves. On the 4th of December a discussion arose in the Senate, provoked by the abuses to which the

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.
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (1)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, 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.
Halleck (2)
Wool (1)
Lincoln (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.
December 4th (1)
December 1st (1)
November (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: