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Executive Order—Authorizing Employment of "Contrabands"

July 22, 1862


1. Ordered, That military commanders within the States of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas in an orderly manner seize and use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or convenient for their several commands as supplies or for other military purposes; and that while property may be destroyed for proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness of malice.

2. That military and naval commanders shall employ as laborers within and from said States so many persons of African descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.

3. That as to both property and persons of African descent accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to show quantities and amounts and from whom both property and such persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can be made in proper cases; and the several Departments of this Government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts toward the execution of these orders.

By order of the President:


Secretary of War.

Abraham Lincoln, Executive Order—Authorizing Employment of "Contrabands" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202617

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