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Burnside, Ambrose Everett (1824-1881) [Declaration to citizens of Roanoke Island to renew allegiance to Union]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01886 Author/Creator: Burnside, Ambrose Everett (1824-1881) Place Written: Roanoke Island, North Carolina Type: Document signed Date: 18 February 1862 Pagination: 2 p. ; 32 x 21 cm.

Historically significant proclamation to the citizens of Roanoke Island, typifying the moderate approach to warfare of Ambrose Burnside, his patron George B. McClellan, and Northern Democrats. Promises not to "interfere with your laws constitutionally established, your institutions of any kind whatever, your property of any sort [i.e., slavery] …," if the citizens of this district returned their loyalties to the United States. Signed by Burnside as Brigadier General Commanding the Department of North Carolina and by Goldsborough as Flag Officer Commanding the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Roanoke Island
February 18. 1862
The mission of our joint expedition is not to invade any of your rights, but to assert the authority of the United States, and thus to close with you the desolating war brought upon your State by comparatively a few bad men in your midst.
Influenced infinitely more by the worst passions of human nature than by any show of elevated reason, they are still urging you astray to gratify their unholy purposes.
They impose upon your credulity by telling you of wicked and even diabolical intentions on our part - of our desire to destroy your freedom, demolish your property, liberate your slaves, injure your women, and such like enormities - all of which, we assure you is not only ridiculous but utterly and wilfully false.
We are Christians as well as yourselves, and we profess to know full well, and to feel profoundly, the sacred obligations of the character.
No apprehension need be entertained that the demands of humanity or justice will be disregarded.
We shall inflict no injury unless forced to do so by your own acts, and upon this you may confidently rely.
Those men are your [2] worst enemies. They, in truth, have drawn you into your present condition, and are the real disturbers of your peace, and the happiness of your firesides.
We invite you in the name of the Constitution, and in that of virtuous loyalty and civilization, to separate yourselves at once from their malign influence, to return to your allegiance, and not compel us to resort further to the force under our control.
The Government asks only that its authority may be recognized, and, we repeat, in no manner or way does it desire to interfere with your laws constitutionally established, your institutions of any kind whatever, your property of any sort, or your usages in any respect.
LM Goldsborough.
Flag Officer Commdg North Atlantic
Blockading Squadron
A E Burnside
Brig Genl Commdg Dept. N.C.

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