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The Emancipation Proclamation, Gen. Orders No. 1, First Edition of First War Department Printing, Bound with First Editions of Gen. Orders 2-201, Jan. to June 1863
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“All persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free.”

Also Bound with an 1863 Compilation of General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force… for Jan. to June 1862, including the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Printed Document. Emancipation Proclamation. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. General Order No. 1, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington January 2, 1863, 3pp., intended for all military commanders in the field. Dated in print January 2, but, consistent with the time it normally took for military orders to be published, it likely came out closer to January 7. Earlier separate printings are very seldom available. (Eberstadt: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation # 12.)

Bound together for Army paymaster Major N.S. Brinton with a 26-page handwritten subject index followed by separately printed and paginated orders from Jan. 1 to June 30, 1863. Brinton or a clerk apparently wrote the index as the orders were received. Since a printed index would have been available soon after the last order, it was likely bound in 1863. This sammelband also contains General Orders Affecting the Volunteer Force, Adjutant General’s Office, 1862. Washington: Government Printing office, [ca. March] 1863, with printed subject index, pp I – LVI, and pages 1-158.

Inventory #23692       SOLD — please inquire about other items

The first edition 1863 orders are mostly for court martials, organization of commands, etc., but two of the documents deserve special mention.

General Order No. 100, April 24, 1863, “Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field.” Known as Lieber’s Code, this describes and defines legitimate ends of war and permissible and impermissible means to attain those ends, for instance calling for civilian populations to be treated well so long as they did not resist military authority. It spells out conduct relating to martial law, military jurisdiction, treatment of non-combatants, spies, deserters and prisoners of war, etc.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Franz Lieber fought for his native Prussia and was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo. After emigrating to America, he lived and taught in South Carolina for two decades. Two of Lieber’s sons fought for the Union, and another died fighting for the Confederacy. Lieber became known for his scholarship and thinking on rules of warfare necessary to inform and protect soldiers, civilians and commanders. Henry Halleck, who became general-in-chief in July, 1862, solicited Lieber’s views, and then ordered 5000 copies of his report printed. Halleck and Stanton were especially concerned with the treatment of escaped slaves who were forbidden by Federal law from returning or being returned to their former masters, and the introduction of “colored soldiers” into the army after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. They asked Lieber to revise the 1806 Articles of War. Lieber complied, and Lincoln promulgated the rules in April, 1863.


15. Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally unavoidable in the armed contests of the war… it allows of all destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and channels of traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance or means of life from the enemy; of the appropriation of whatever an enemy’s country affords necessary for the subsistence and safety of the Army, and of such deception as does not involve the breaking of good faith either positively pledged, regarding agreements entered into during the war, or supposed by the modern law of war to exist. (...But...) Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.

16. Military necessity does not admit of cruelty—that is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does not admit of the use of poison in any way, nor of the wanton devastation of a district. It admits of deception, but disclaims acts of perfidy; and, in general, military necessity does not include any act of hostility which makes the return to peace unnecessarily difficult.

The Code provided a blueprint for hundreds of war crimes trials and helped explain the Union’s unpopular decision to cease prisoner exchanges so long as the South refused to exchange black prisoners on equal terms with white ones. It later became the basis for international law promulgated by the Hauge and Geneva Conventions.

General Order No. 143, May 22, 1863, established the United States Colored Troops.

Back to the 1862 Portion

Orders include the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Gen. Orders No. 139, September 24, 1862 (pp. 118 - 121), as well as two acts of Congress that Lincoln incorporated into the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Unlike the complete first editions of the orders from the beginning of 1863 described above, the orders represented here from the first half of 1862 were all reprinted together for the War Department in March of 1863.

General Orders No. 27, March 21, 1862, prints the March 14 Act of Congress “to make an additional Article of War,” which Lincoln included in the text of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional article of war for the government of the army of the United States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:

Article - All officers or persons in the military or naval service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of returning fugitives from service or labor, who may have escaped from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be due, and any officer who shall be found guilty by a court martial of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.

Sec.2. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.

Approved March 13, 1862” (page 11)

Lincoln’s July 25, 1862 Proclamation is followed by “An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and confiscate property of rebels, and for other purposes.” Lincoln incorporated the ninth and tenth sections into the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation:

Sec.9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons found on (or) being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude and not again held as slaves.

Sec.10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged in the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.” (The complete act is printed in full on pages 73-7 here)

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, General Orders No. 139, War Department, September 24, 1862. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. Washington DC: Government Printing Office, [reprinted ca. March,] 1863.

I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States... hereby proclaim and declare that ... the war will be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the constitutional relation between the United States... That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tending pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all Slave States, so called, the people whereof may not then be in rebellion against the United States, and which States may then have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt, immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery within their respective limits; and that the effort to colonize persons of African descent, with their consent, upon this continent or elsewhere … will be continued … That on the first day of January, in the year… 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, thenceforward, and forever free …” (G.O. #139, printed in full on pp. 118-121).

(Eberstadt: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation #4. However, he doesn’t distinguish between the first copies printed in 1862, and this reprint from March 1863)


Very Good. Contemporary half morocco binding, marbled boards with spine in five compartments, gilt lettering spine inscribed to Major N[athan]. S. Brinton, an Army Paymaster.

Nathan Sharpless Brinton (1829-1914) was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He married Mary D. Buckley; the two apparently had no children. Brinton was commissioned in the Union Army as a Major and Additional Paymaster on June 1, 1861. On August 4, 1865 he was brevetted Lieutenant Colonel, and honorably mustered out in October. The Filson Historical Society has a small archive of Brinton’s papers which “chiefly document the loss of $2.6 million of Union Army payroll during the sinking of the Steamer Ruth on the Mississippi River near Cairo, Illinois on the night of 4 August 1863. Brinton was paymaster for the money, and collected documents related to the trial held to determine his culpability in the loss. Papers include statements by witnesses, proceedings of a court of inquiry, a board of survey report, and General Order No. 344 which found no misconduct in the loss of the funds.”

Historical Background

On September 22, 1862, in a Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln warned Southern states that if they did not abandon the war, they would lose their slaves. As he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863, slavery in the United States at last approached its demise. The Emancipation Proclamation was the most important act of Lincoln’s presidency. Its lines reveal the major themes of the Civil War: slavery as the central issue of the war; the courting of border states; Lincoln’s hopes that the rebellious states could somehow be convinced to come back into the Union; Constitutional and popular constraints that made earlier emancipation impossible; the role of black soldiers; America’s place in the world.

In addition to its moral weight, the Proclamation’s tangible aid to the Union cause was decisive. It deprived the Confederacy of essential labor by giving millions of slaves a reason to escape to Union lines. It encouraged the enlistment of black soldiers. It prevented Europe from supporting the Confederacy. Without the Proclamation, even Union victory itself might not have been the result of the war.

Frederick Douglass, speaking at The Cooper Institute in New York, on February 6, 1863, ably discussed the Proclamation and its effects:

“I congratulate you, upon what may be called the greatest event of our nation’s history, if not the greatest event of the century. In the eye of the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, there is not now, and there has not been, since the 1st day of January, a single slave lawfully deprived of Liberty in any of the States now recognized as in Rebellion against the National Government. In all these States Slavery is now in law, as in fact, a system of lawless violence, against which the slave may lawfully defend himself… The change in attitude of the Government is vast and startling. For more than sixty years the Federal Government has been little better than a stupendous engine of Slavery and oppression, through which Slavery has ruled us, as with a rod of iron… Assuming that our Government and people will sustain the President and the Proclamation, we can scarcely conceive of a more complete revolution in the position of a nation… I hail it as the doom of Slavery in all the States…. At last the out-spread wings of the American Eagle afford shelter and protection to men of all colors, all countries and climes, and the long oppressed black man may honorably fall or gloriously flourish under the star-spangled banner.

I stand here tonight not only as a colored man and an American, but by the express decision of the Attorney-General of the United States, as a colored citizen, having, in common with all other citizens, a stake in the safety, prosperity, honor, and glory of a common country. We are all liberated by this proclamation. Everybody is liberated. The white man is liberated, the black man is liberated, the brave men now fighting the battles of their country against rebels and traitors are now liberated, and may strike with all their might, even if they do hurt the Rebels, at their most sensitive point. [Applause.] I congratulate you upon this amazing change—the amazing approximation toward the sacred truth of human liberty.”