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Hay, John (1838-1905) to Mary Jay

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01569 Author/Creator: Hay, John (1838-1905) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 July 1862 Pagination: 7 p. : docket ; 20.5 x 25.5 cm.

Summary of Content: Written while serving as Assistant Secretary to President Abraham Lincoln to a family friend. Writes of General George McClellan and his failed Peninsula campaign, "...What a wretched conclusion of all our little General's boasting addresses and orders have we seen on the bloody banks of the Chickahominy! Sad as is the result to himself and the country..." Mentions General David Hunter's attempt to emancipate enslaved people, "How gloriously General Hunter has justified my statement that the future would prove his soundness in hatred of Slavery..." Hints of the coming of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, "But he will not conserve slavery much longer. When next he speaks in relation to this defiant and ungrateful villainy it will be with no uncertain sound. Even now he speaks more boldly and sternly to slaveholders than to the world."

Background Information: General Hunter commanded the Union Army that seized Fort Pulaski, Georgia from the rebels on 11 April 1862. The next day he issued orders to liberate all enslaved people in Union hands ...and a month later extended this to cover all Union controlled territory in the Department of the South under his control. Lincoln repealed the order on 19 May stating that Hunter did not have authority to eliminate slavery, upsetting abolitionists. Lincoln presented a preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on 22 July 1862 and the presidential decree was issued on 19 September to go into effect on 1 January 1863.See More

People: Hay, John, 1838-1905
Jay, Mary, fl. 1861
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865
McClellan, George B., 1826-1885
Hunter, David, 1802-1886

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: African American HistoryBattleUnion ForcesUnion GeneralCivil WarMilitary HistoryEmancipationEmancipation ProclamationSlaveryAbolitionPresident

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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