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tion of the Union and the authority of the Constitution of the United States. How steadily and carefully this policy was pursued, the preceding pages of this record will show.


But as the war went on, and the desperate tenacity of the rebel resistance became more manifest-as the field of operations, both military and political, became enlarged, and the elements of the rebel strength were better understood, the necessity of dealing with the question of slavery forced itself upon the people and the Government. The legislation of Congress, from time to time, represented and embodied these advancing phases of public opinion. the extra session of 1861 a law was passed, discharging from slavery every slave who should be required or permitted by his master to take up arms against the United States, or to be employed in any military capacity in the rebel service. At the next session the President was authorized to employ persons of African descent in the suppression of the rebellion, "in such manner as he should judge best for the public welfare," and also to issue a proclamation commanding all persons in rebellion against the United States to lay down their arms and return to their allegiance; and if any persons so warned should be found in rebellion thirty days after the date of such proclamation, the President was authorized to set free their slaves. Under these comprehensive acts the President took such steps on the subject as he believed the necessities of the country required, and as the public sentiment of the country would sustain. The Emancipation Proclama-. tion was issued on the 1st of January, 1863, and measures were adopted soon afterwards to provide for the changes which it made inevitable. On the 20th of January, the Secretary of War authorized Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, to enlist volunteers for three years, and to include persons of African descent, organized into a separate corps. In April, negro troops were enlisted by AdjutantGeneral Thomas for service in Arkansas, and on the 15th of that month he issued an order appointing commissioners to superintend the execution of a policy which the Government had adopted for committing the protection of the

banks of the Mississippi to a negro force. On the 22d of May, orders were issued by the Secretary of War creating a Bureau of the War Department for all matters relating to the organization of colored troops, and establishing rules for their enlistment, and for the appointment of officers to command them. And on the 20th of August, Hon. J. Holt, Judge-Advocate General, sent to the President an official opinion, to the effect that, under the laws of Congress on the subject, he had full authority to enlist slaves for service in the army precisely as he might enlist any other persons-providing for compensation to loyal owners whose property might thus be taken for the public service.

These were the initial steps of a movement for the employment of negro troops, which has gone forward steadily ever since, until, as has been seen from the President's Message, over one hundred thousand negro soldiers were already in the army of the United States, contributing largely, by their courage and good conduct, to the suppression of the rebellion, which sought the perpetual enslavement of their race. The popular prejudice against their employment in the army, which was so potent at the beginning, gradually gave way, even in the slaveholding States, to a more just estimate of the necessities of the emergency and the capacities of the negro race. And what was of still more importance to the welfare of the country, the people of the slaveholding States took up the question of slavery for discussion and practical action, as one in which their own wellbeing, present and prospective, was deeply involved. The Union party in every Southern State favored the abolition of slavery, and in Missouri, Maryland, Louisiana, and Arkansas, measures were speedily taken for the overthrow of an institution which had proved so detrimental to their interests, and so menacing to the unity of the nation and the stability of republican institutions.

In all of them Constitutional Conventions were held, and clauses inserted in the constitutions which were adopted, utterly abolishing slavery; and these constitu

tions were all submitted to the popular vote, with the following results:

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In the latter State, the Constitution adopted in 1864 was, by a new Convention, held in January, 1865, revised and amended, and submitted to the popular vote on June 6, 1865, and ratified as above.



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THE position of the two great armies of the United States at the opening of the year 1864 plainly indicated that the main interest of the military movements of the year was to be with the Army of the Potomac, which lay around Culpepper Court-House, still looking towards Richmond with unfaltering determination; and with the great Army of the West, which was gathering around. Chattanooga for its long and perilous southward march. During the month of January little was done anywhere except to prepare for the coming campaign. Neither of the grand armies made any movement during February or March, but some smaller expeditions were set on foot.

As early as the 15th of December, 1863, General Gillmore, commanding the Department of the South, had applied to the Government for permission to send an expedition into Florida, for the purpose of cutting off supplies of the enemy; and in January, in urging the matter still further upon the attention of General Halleck, he suggested that measures might be also inaugurated for restoring the State of Florida to her allegiance under the terms of the President's Proclamation. General Gillmore was authorized to take such action in the matter as he should deem proper; and he accordingly organized an expedition, which left Port Royal on the 5th of February, under General Seymour, and was followed soon afterwards by General Gillmore himself-to whom, on

the 13th of January, the President had addressed the following letter:

Major-General GILLMORE:


I understand an effort is being made by some worthy gentlemen to reconstruct a legal State Government in Florida. Florida is in your Department, and it is not unlikely you may be there in person. I have given Mr. Hay a commission of major, and sent him to you, with some blank-books and other blanks, to aid in the reconstruction. He will explain as to the manner of using the blanks, and also my general views on the subject. It is desirable for all to co-operate, but if irreconcilable differences of opinion shall arise, you are master. I wish the thing done in the most speedy way, so that when done it be within the range of the late proclamation on the subject. The detail labor will, of course, have to be done by others; but I will be greatly obliged if you will give it such general supervision as you can find consistent with your more strictly military duties.


The advance portion of the expedition reached Jacksonville on the 8th of February. General Gillmore returned to Port Royal on the 16th, leaving the command of the expedition to General Seymour. The first operations were successful. Near Jacksonville one hundred prisoners, with eight pieces of serviceable artillery, fell into our hands, and expeditions were pushed forward into the interior, by which large amounts of stores and supplies were destroyed. On the 17th, General Seymour, with five thousand men, was on the Florida Central Railroad, about forty-five miles from Jacksonville. Here they remained until the 20th, when the preparations for a movement towards Lake City were completed. The enemy was found in force, a little before reaching Lake City, at Olustee, a small station on the railroad. The engagement was commenced between the enemy's skir mishers and our advance. The fire directed against our men was so hot that they were compelled to fall back; then we brought two batteries to bear on the enemy, and our whole force became engaged with more than twice their number of the rebels, who occupied a strong pɔsition, flanked by a marsh. Again we retreated, taking

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