Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Hatch, John Porter (1822-1901) General Orders No. 62

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05037 Author/Creator: Hatch, John Porter (1822-1901) Place Written: Charleston, South Carolina Type: Autograph document signed Date: 24 June 1865 Pagination: 2 p. ; 24.7 x 19.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Marked as a "True Copy." Contracts between planters and freedmen: "any contact... which contains provisions tending to peonage, will be considered null."

Background Information: A native New Yorker, Hatch graduated from West Point in 1845 and was commissioned in the Infantry, serving in the Mexican War. He served in the Antietam Campaign where he was ...wounded. By the end of the war he was breveted Colonel and Brigadier General of regulars, but he reverted to Major on being mustered out of volunteer service. He then returned to the frontier. He retired from the Army in 1886.See More

Full Transcript: [draft]
Head Quarters, Northern District, D.S.
Charleston S.C. June 24. 1865.
General orders
No. 62.

It has come to the knowledge of the District Commander, that, in some of the Contracts ...made between Planters and Freemen, a clause has been introduced establishing a system of peonage the Freeman binding himself to work out any debt he may hereafter incur to his employer. All contracts made under authority from these Head Quarters, will be understood as merely temporary arrangements to induce the cultivation of the ground for the present season. Any contract made under the above authority, which contains provisions binding to peonage, will be considered null. The Officers having charge of contracts will examine them carefully, and when they are found to contain such clause, will notify the Planters that new contracts must be made in which the objectionable feature will be omitted. Contracts will [2] be simply worded; whilst acknowledging the freedom of the Colored man, such exparssion [sic] as, "freed by the acts of the Military Forces of the United States" will not be permitted. The attempt to introduce anything into the contract which may have an appearance of our intention at some future [inserted: day] to contest the question of the emancipation of the Negroes will be reported to the Commander of the Sut District, who will examine into the antecedents of the person making the attempt, and report upon the case to District Head Quarters.
By Command of Bvt: Maj. Genl.
Jno. P. Hatch
(signed) Leonard B. Perry
Asst. Adjt. Genl.

True copy
Jno. P. Hatch
Lt. Col. & Bvt Maj. Genl.
See More

People: Hatch, John Porter, 1822-1901

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Civil WarReconstructionMilitary HistoryUnion GeneralUnion ForcesAfrican American HistorySlaveryFreemenLaborContract

Sub Era: The American Civil War

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources