Thursday, January 1, 1863, was a bright, crisp day in the nation’s capital. The previous day had been a strenuous one for the President, but New Year’s Day was to be even more strenuous. So he rose early. There was much to do, not the least of which was to put the finishing touches on the Proclamation. Before he could begin, the troubled General Ambrose E. Burnside, who had led the ill-fated Fredericksburg campaign, called at the White House. He was fully aware of the fact that he had lost the confidence of his men, and he told the President so. He felt, therefore, that he should retire to private life. The President calmed the general, who then returned to his men. Lincoln then proceeded to work on the Proclamation. When he had finished the draft he sent it over to the Department of State for the superscription and closing.
At 10:45 the document was brought to the White House by Secretary of State Seward. The President signed it, but he noticed an error in the superscription. It read, “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my name and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.” The President had never used that form in proclamations, always preferring to say “In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand….” He asked Seward to make the correction; and the formal signing would be made on the corrected copy.1