Lincoln Issues the Emancipation Proclamation: September 22, 1862
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“God bless you and all with you,” wrote Lincoln to McClellan after the Battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam). “Destroy the rebel army if possible.” But September passed, and McClellan still did not pursue Lee. On October 1, Lincoln ordered McClellan to pursue Lee. McClellan obeyed — but only after another 18-day delay.
Though not a decisive victory, the Battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam) was still a victory for the North; McClellan had held the field while Lee retreated. It was for just such a victory that Lincoln had been waiting — “God,” he said, “had decided in favor of the slaves.” On September 22 he issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation:
On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, all persons held as slaves within any State, or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free. (more…)