Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Order Concerning Lessees and Owners of Plantations Worked by Freedmen [1]

Executive Order}
concerning Lessees and Owners of} Executive Mansion,
Plantations worked by Freedmen.} September [30?], 1864.

For the purpose of encouraging persons, formerly held as slaves, to labor as freedmen in insurrectionary States that they may become self-supporting, and that the products of their labor may benefit the country, and for the purpose of protecting all persons employing such labor under rules relating thereto, established under proper authority, it is hereby ordered:

I. All officers, commanding military Departments, Districts, Posts, Naval fleets and vessels, will at once suspend [2] all orders made by them or in force within their respective commands, so far as they [3] prohibit or in any manner interfere with the transportation of supplies to, or products from, any plantation worked byPage  31 free labor under rules relating thereto, prescribed or approved by the Secretary of the Treasury: Provided such transportation is being made in pursuance of permits granted by duly authorized officers of the Treasury Department, and all persons hindering or interfering with transportation to or from such plantations so worked, which has been so permitted, will be deemed guilty of a military offence and punished accordingly.

II. Agreements have been made with owners of lands who have recognized the freedom of their former slaves, and leases have been made of abandoned plantations under authority of the Government, and good faith to such owners and lessees requires due observance of the terms of all such agreements and leases on the part of all civil and military officers of the Government; therefore all military and naval officers will aid in securing such observance by every means at their command which can be used for that purpose without interfering with active military or naval operations.

III. Such orders will be made by general and local military and naval commanders as will insure the fulfilment of the purposes of this order, and as will afford the greatest possible protection to the laborers and employers above named, consistent with the safety of their commands and the success of any military or naval movement being made by them.

Annotation

[1]   Df, DNA WR RG 94, Adjutant General, Letters Received, P 1589. Although corrected in Lincoln's autograph as indicated, this order was not signed or issued. See Lincoln to Stanton, infra.

[2]   ``Revoke'' emended by Lincoln to ``suspend.''

[3]   ``Which'' emended by Lincoln to ``so far as they.''