On this date in History .... August 6, 1861:
Lincoln signs the Confiscation
Act, the first legislative act toward emancipation of slaves.
The Act recognized
that slaves doing the work on a plantation were freeing up the white Southerners
to have plenty of time to fight in the war.
Slaves were also used for menial tasks in the war, also enabling the war
The Act stripped slave owners of
any claim to slaves and made them “confiscated property” of the United
States. The Act stated that any slave
who worked for “disloyal masters in some form of work against the United
States” were free.
The law was not enforced uniformly with some Union officers
returning slaves back over Confederate lines.
Union (Democrat) Gen’l McCook was so “obliging” in returning slaves to
their owners that he was praised in Confederate newspapers.