The historic meeting of the Cabinet was hardly over on September 22, 1862, before the printing and distribution of the Preliminary Proclamation had begun. That afternoon and evening the employees of the Government Printing Office worked late and prepared copies for distribution to the press and government agencies. Seward, the Secretary of State, ordered copies that were to go, along with a circular, to the numerous diplomatic posts of the United States in foreign countries. For the War Department, fifteen thousand copies of General Orders, number 139, dated September 24, 1862, and including the Proclamation, were printed and readied for distribution among the various military commanders and their troops.1 The Preliminary Proclamation had been long coming. But once the decision was made and the document signed, there was no delay in presenting it to the world.
On the two days following the signing of the Preliminary Proclamation, the text of the document was printed in newspapers throughout the country. It appeared in the Washington National Republican on September 23, and in papers in New York, Boston, and Cincinnati on the same day. Within a week it was the subject of serious and critical