An Infant’s Funeral & A Draft Emancipation Act

July 13, 1862/2012
Volume 3, Issue 28 (92 Issues Since 15 October 2010)

An Infant’s Funeral. Lincoln Tells Seward About Draft Emancipation Proclamation Act

July 13, 1862. “On July 13, the day after he had failed to persuade border states to emancipate their slaves, Lincoln attended the funeral of Secretary of War Stanton’s baby son. Only five months before, he had buried his own boy Willie, and he knew the meaning of such a death. Yet the pressures of the war were ongoing, and as he rode in the carriage with Secretary of State Seward and Navy Secretary Welles, Lincoln’s thoughts turned to emancipation.  He had decided to free the slaves, for slavery was clearly ‘the heart of the rebellion.’ Emancipation would be a just punishment for slave owners who had begun the rebellion, he told his companions. The time for clinging to the hope that the Constitution might still protect slavery was clearly gone. Furthermore, there would be a military advantage in that slaves would run toward freedom, thus depriving Dixie of needed labor.”

– Submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director


Phillip Shaw Paludan, A People’s Contest, p. 80.

Second Confiscation Act Prepares the Way for the Emancipation Proclamation

July 17, 1862. “The Second Confiscation Act, approved by the United States Congress July 16 [17], 1862, contained the first definite provisions for emancipating slaves in the rebellious states.

“Under the act, Confederates who did not surrender within 60 days of the act’s passage were to be punished by having their slaves freed. The act also dealt with a problem that plagued field commanders occupying Southern territory. As troops advanced, slaves sought refuge in Union camps, and Federal commanders were confused over their obligations to the refugees. Some freed the slaves, others sent them back to their masters for lack of means to care for them. The Confiscation Act of 1862 declared all slaves taking refuge behind Union lines captives of war who were to be set free.

“Though the act implied a willingness to emancipate, at the convenience of the government, it offered blacks no guarantee of civil rights. Instead, it incorporated provisions for transporting and colonizing any black consenting to emigrate to some tropical country that was prepared to guarantee them the rights and privileges of free men. A clause requiring the consent of the freedmen to be colonized was approved [only] after much controversy in Congress.

. . .

“The same act granting freedom to Confederate slaves guaranteed the return of fugitives from the border states to any owner who could prove loyalty to the Union. Lincoln could not risk alienating these states, and he hoped that one part of the bill, calling for gradual, compensated emancipation, would draw Virginia and Tennessee back into the Union.

“Essentially, the Confiscation Act of 1862 prepared the way for the Emancipation Proclamation and solved the immediate dilemma facing the army concerning the status of slaves within its jurisdiction.”

 – Submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director


Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, p. 157, Patricia L. Faust, editor.


Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress


Filed under Civil War Book of Days: 1862

2 responses to “An Infant’s Funeral & A Draft Emancipation Act

  1. Pingback: Lincoln Tries to Persuade African Americans to Emigrate | Civil War Book of Days

  2. Pingback: Lincoln Tries to Persuade African Americans to Emigrate | Vermont Humanities

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