Description

    Field Printed General Orders No. 27 Issued by David Hunter Regarding Violation of Law Prohibiting the Return of Slaves to Their Masters With Holographic Response From a Soldier Protesting the Order. Single sheet, 5" x 8"; Hilton Head, Port Royal, S. C.; August 19, 1862. Orders issued by command of Major General David Hunter, in part: "... the General Commanding the Department, has received several reports against officers, for returning fugitive slaves, in direct violation of a law of Congress... a New England Colonel is to-day... in arrest for having been engaged in the manly task of turning over a young woman, whose skin was almost as white as his own, to the cruel lash of her rebel master!" Handwritten in period ink below this last line is the following: "this rebel master is a good union man". "Niger whore" is written directly above "a young woman". Hunters order also disavows the "pilfering from the negroes having taken place in the neighborhood of Beaufort, committed by men wearing the uniform of the United States." Additional writing along the bottom, in the same unknown hand reads: "Colonel bell is the man that is under arrest. Tis a dam lye about the woman niger whore / this you make public as you can. Will want the world to know what general hunter."

    General Oder 27 is referencing the Confiscation Act of 1861, which permitted the confiscation of any property used to support the Confederacy, including slaves. The law was open to interpretation, and it was not uncommon for officer's to return slaves to their masters. Hunter was a controversial figure, and well ahead of his time with regards to treatment of blacks. He was a strong proponent of arming blacks, and formed the first black regiment, the 1st South Carolina of African Descent, which was initially ordered to disband. A few months earlier on May 9, 1862, Hunter issued General Order No. 11 freeing slaves in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. Lincoln immediately rescinded Hunter's order. Hunter's interpretation of the 1861 Act is in keeping with his personal beliefs, but was clearly resented by the soldiers that served under him, as evidenced by the commentary on the broadside here offered.

    Condition: Typeset is lighter in some areas, as is common with hurried field printing. Light soiling and narrow margins.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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