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A Union Soldier Objects to the Emancipation Proclamation
Digital History ID 426

Author:   A soldier in the 12th Vermont Militia


There can be no doubt that some northern soldiers who were willing to fight to preserve the Union were unwilling to fight to abolish slavery. An unidentified soldier in the 12th Vermont militia expresses his opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation.


We are going on in the same old sorts--plenty to do, plenty to eat, plenty of grumbling and plenty of damning and plenty of preaching--while the Country all together seems to be going to the devil if possible at a faster rate than ever.

Old Abe['s] stock is clear down---Stanton-Halleck-Seward and in fact all the administration are generally damned by the soldiers and their friends wherever they have any....

The Journal of Commerce editorials are more popular with the army than those of any other newspapers--it is a dreadful shame that the administration should have forced this thing or this state of feeling upon us but here it is....

[The soldiers] unanimously want to go home and let the Southern Confederacy, Negroes, our own administration, and all go to the devil together--and save what they can for themselves and of themselves.

Many are sick of fighting if is purely on the Negro question and now that really seems to be made the whole question--or to determine who shall or shall not be the next president and whose friends shall do the big stealing--or what is the same thing, manage the contract business.

Our company has...shot at the rebels...and are now only anxious to be...sent home.

You have probably heard all about Stuart's Cavalry charge upon us--it was not much of an affair as they were taken by surprise and were routed and run before they or we had time to figure much on what it was best to do next. They all did well and were deservingly highly praised by the Gen[eral] and other officers--besides which we nearly froze to death then in the woods waiting for them to come out and the brush did not last far enough to warm us. We have nobody hurt very badly wounded 14 that were left by there on their of no further use.

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: A soldier in the 12th Vermont Militia to R.W. Southgate

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