War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0768 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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that strong and vigorous measures have now become necessary to the success of our arms; and hoping that my views may have the honor to meet your approval,

I am, with respect and regard, very truly, yours,


WASHINGTON, D. C., September 11, 1861.

Major General JOHN C. FREMONT.

SIR: Yours of the 8th in answer to mine of the 2nd instant was just received. Assured that you upon the ground could better judge of the necessities of your position than I could at this distance on seeing your proclamation of August 30 I perceived no general objection to it. The particular clause, however, in relation to the confiscation of property and the liberation of slaves appeared to me to be objectionable in its non-conformity to the act of Congress passed the 6th of last August upon t he same subjects, and hence I wrote you expressing my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly. Your answer just received expresses the preference on your part that I should make an open order for modification which I very cheerfully do.

It is therefore ordered that the said clause of said proclamation be so modified, held and construed as to conform with and not to transcend the provisions on the same subject contained in the act of Congress entitled "An act to confiscate property used for insurrectionary purposes," approved August 6, 1861, and that said act be published at length with this order.

Your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, September 12, [1861].


President of the United States.

DEAR SIR: The late act of Congress providing for the confiscation of the estates of persons in open rebellion against the Government was as a necessary war measure accepted and fully approved by the loyal men of the country. It limited the penalty of confiscation to property actually employed in the service of the rebellion with the knowledge and consent of its owners, and instead of emancipating slaves thus employed left their status to be determined either by the courts of the United States or by subsequent legislation.

The proclamation, however, of General Fremont under date of the 30th of August transcends and of course violates the law in both these particulars and declares that the property of rebels whether used in support of the rebellion or not shall be confiscated, and if consisting in slaves that they shall be at once manumitted.

The act of Congress referred to was believed to embody the conservative policy of your administration upon this delicate and perplexing question, and hence the loyal men of the border slave States have felt relieved of all fears of any attempt on the part of the Government of the United States to liberate suddenly in their midst a population unprepared for freedom and whose presence could not fail to prove a painful apprehension if not a terror to the homes and families of all.