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The Confiscation Act of 1861

  • General History
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Seen as the beginnings of The Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, The Act stated that Federal Forces could seize any and all Confederate Property they capture in The War. More appropriately, it covered the disposition of Southern Slaves (long considered “Property”). The initial problem with The Law, was WHAT to do with the hundreds upon hundred of captured Slaves. Armies were not equipped to handle (cloth or feed) such numbers. Many Army Commanders simply turned them loose (only to face recapture by Slave Hunters). Further, many fled North. With no training or education they began to fill vacant jobs once occupied by soldiers. This created an economic issue with soldiers returning home (to no jobs). It also helped create unneeded hatred and prejudice. Some Army Commanders took ex-Slaves and began to use them as “Shock Troops”. Poorly trained, they were known by the bright red trousers they wore (“The Red Legs” or “Contrabands”). This influx was said to have prompted US President Lincoln to write The Emancipation Proclamation.

 

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