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A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865$
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George Washington Williams

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823233854

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823233854.001.0001

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Military Rendition of Slaves

Military Rendition of Slaves

(p.45) 4 Military Rendition of Slaves
A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865

George Washington Williams

Fordham University Press

At first, the faintest intimation that Negroes should be employed as soldiers in the Union Army was met with derision, and was by many regarded as a joke. The idea of arming the former slaves seemed ridiculous to most civil and military officers. From the period of the introduction of Negroes into the British colonies in North America down to the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion in the South, they had been subjected to a most rigorous system of bondage to the white race. Major-general David Hunter assumed command of the “Department of the South” on March, 31, 1862. His military district comprised the States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. On May 9, in “General Order No. 11,” General Hunter declared that “Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible.” He therefore proclaimed that the slaves of those States were “forever free.” On May 19, however, President Abraham Lincoln issued a long proclamation abrogating General Hunter's emancipation of slaves in the three states.

Keywords:   Negroes, Union Army, slaves, David Hunter, emancipation, Abraham Lincoln, martial law, War of Rebellion

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