ON September 23rd, four days after Antietam, Lincoln issued the famous Proclamation that on the 1st January 1863, 'all persons held as slaves within any State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be thenceforward and forever free'. This has been universally recognized as one of the great Charters of Freedom, and due reverence is paid to Lincoln as the author of it. But the actual form and the date of issue were dictated by military necessity.
In normal times the President had no power to free a single slave. But in time of war a commander-in-- chief can seize and dispose of the property of the enemy, such as horses and wagons; as the South looked on their slaves in the same light as on horses, they could be seized and disposed of. This, however, could only apply to the property of those who were in rebellion. In the case of the Northern and border States, Lincoln could only appeal to the State Legislatures to introduce emancipation. This he did persistently, suggesting various schemes for compensation, but his efforts were not successful.
The Proclamation was therefore the act of the Commander-in-Chief, and a real part of his strategy; it is from this point of view that we must consider it.
Man Power . Volunteer recruiting had fallen to a low ebb. At the outset of the Peninsular Campaign the recruiting offices had been closed; after the Seven Days they were reopened, and a call was made for 300,000