Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    New Orleans Circulars Ordering Slaves Back to their Plantations. Two handwritten circulars, both 8" x 10", New Orleans; dated February 5 and February 6, 1863. Issued by the Department of the Gulf, Headquarters of the Sequestration Commission.

    The first circular, dated February 5, 1863, orders all slaves to return with their families back to their plantations and outlines the terms of employment. It reads, in part: "The officers of the government will induce the u slaves /u to return to the Plantation where they belong, with their families and when returned will require them and those remaining upon the Plantation to work diligently & faithfully on the Plantation for one year, to maintain respectful deportment to their employers, and perfect subordination to their duties, upon condition that the Planters or other employers will feed, clothe and treat them properly, and give to them at the end of the year one twentieth (1/20) part of the years crop, or a fair monthly compensation, in cases when it may be more convenient..." Approved by E.G. Beckwith, President of the Sequestration Commission.

    The second circular, dated February 6, 1863, provides authorization for the agreement between planters and the military in regard to their slaves. It reads, in part: "In accordance with the agreement, between the military authorities and the Planters, based upon General Orders No 12 Jany 29, 1863, the Provost Marshal of each parrish is authorized to receive the signatures of Planters to said agreement, (a printed copy of which is herewith inclosed [sic]) and is ordered to carry out in good faith the provisions of the agreement on the part of the authorities..." Approved by W.P. Banks, Major General Commanding.

    These circulars were distributed as a way to induce the black population of the South to continue to work on plantations during the Civil War, as opposed to fleeing up North or joining the Union Army. The Emancipation Proclamation had just been issued the month before, declaring "all persons held as slaves" within the Confederate states "are, and henceforward shall be free." Clearly, these circulars were a reaction to Lincoln's Proclamation, as many in the South feared losing their slaves.

    Condition: The two circulars have been taped together along the left vertical edge. Both are lightly toned, with darker toning at the edges. Flattened folds, with some separations and tears that have been reinforced with strips of tape throughout.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 443

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 July 12 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search