Proclamation 124—Offering Pardon to Deserters
By the President of the United States of America
Whereas the twenty-first section of the act of Congress approved on the 3d instant, entitled "An act to amend the several acts heretofore passed to provide for the enrolling and calling out the national forces and for other purposes," requires "that, in addition to the other lawful penalties of the crime of desertion from the military or naval service, all persons who have deserted the military or naval service of the United States who shall not return to said service or report themselves to a provost-marshal within sixty days after the proclamation hereinafter mentioned shall be deemed and taken to have voluntarily relinquished and forfeited their rights of citizenship and their rights to become citizens, and such deserters shall be forever incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under the United States or of exercising any rights of citizens thereof; and all persons who shall hereafter desert the military or naval service, and all persons who, being duly enrolled, shall depart the jurisdiction of the district in which he is enrolled or go beyond the limits of the United States with intent to avoid any draft into the military or naval service duly ordered, shall be liable to the penalties of this section. And the President is hereby authorized and required forthwith on the passage of this act, to issue his proclamation setting forth the provisions of this section, in which proclamation the President is requested to notify all deserters returning within sixty days as aforesaid that they shall be pardoned on condition of returning to their regiments and companies or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to until they shall have served for a period of time equal to their original term of enlistment:"
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln. President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation, as required by said act, ordering and requiting all deserters to return to their proper posts; and I do hereby notify them that all deserters who shall, within sixty days from the date of this proclamation, viz, on or before the 10th day of May, 1865, return to service or report themselves to a provost-marshal shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regiments and companies or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to and serve the remainder of their original terms of enlistment and in addition thereto a period equal to the time lost by desertion.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 11th day of March A.D. 1865, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State .
Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation 124—Offering Pardon to Deserters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202866