Colonization Experiment Not Successful
February 1, 1864. Lincoln long supported emancipation with colonization, but few freedmen were interested in leaving the United States for a freedman colony elsewhere, and not all those who did go wanted to stay. On February 1, 1864 President Lincoln wrote from the White House to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton instructing him as follows:
SIR:-You are directed to have a transport (either a steam or sailing vessel, as may be deemed proper by the Quartermaster-General) sent to the colored colony established by the United States at the island of Vache, on the coast of San Domingo, to bring back to this country such of the colonists there as desire to return. You will have the transport furnished with suitable supplies for that purpose, and detail an officer of the Quartermaster’s Department, who, under special instructions to be given, shall have charge of the business. The colonists will be brought to Washington, unless otherwise hereafter directed, and be employed and provided for at the camps for colored persons around that city. Those only will be brought from the island who desire to return, and their effects will be brought with them.
Lincoln Orders a Draft of 500,000 Men for Three Years
On the same date the President ordered “That a draft of five hundred thousand (500,000) men, to serve for three years or during the war, be made on the tenth (10th) day of March next, for the military service of the United States . . .”
That the Union could draft such an enormous number of soldiers this late in the war speaks volumes about the Union’s capacity to wear down the Confederate army in a bloody war of attrition.
SOURCE FOR BOTH PIECES
Editor’s note: These entries were submitted by Peter A. Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council, executive director