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The Original, Unpublished Recommendation of President Abraham Lincoln Used to Secure the Position of Chaplain to the Newly Freed Slaves

Abraham Lincoln

Librería: The Raab Collection (Ardmore, PA, Estados Unidos de America)

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He acts the day the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg ends, as wounded Union soldiers and ÒcontrabandsÓ flood into Washington The chaplain felt a calling and would work mostly without pay, selflessly donating his time and labor to the freedmen, and LincolnÕs note makes it clear he wants him employedOver 40,000 escaped slaves sought refuge and freedom in Washington, D.C. after the passage of the D.C. Emancipation Act in April 1862, which freed all enslaved persons in the District of Columbia. In addition, as the Union Army advanced on southern strongholds, thousands of slaves in their path made their way across Union lines to freedom, becoming what was known as "contraband.Ó The increasing numbers of contraband coming into Washington created a dilemma for the Federal Government and the Union Army responsible for both the protection of the capital and the pursuit of victory over the Confederates. How would these African-American men, women, and children find food, shelter, and medical care? In an effort to meet this challenge, in late spring of 1862 the Union Army established a camp and hospital to serve them. It became a safe haven for these former slaves and a center of government sponsored contraband relief efforts in Washington. The Contraband Camp and Hospital were constructed as one-story frame buildings and tented structures built by the Union Army to serve as temporary housing and hospital wards for black civilians and soldiers. Separate wards for men and women were established as well as separate tented wards for smallpox patients. In addition to the hospital wards, there was a stable, commissary, dead house (morgue), ice room, kitchen, laundry, dispensary, and living quarters. Within the camp thousands of contraband found refuge and medical care, and by the end of 1863, they had processed over 15,000 individuals and had 685 residents. The hospital hired nurses primarily from within the population of fugitive slaves and employed the largest number of black surgeons among U.S. military hospitals. In fact, the Contraband Hospital was one of the few medical facilities in Washington to treat African-Americans and broke the color barrier when it appointed Alexander T. Augusta surgeon-in-charge in May 1863.Rev. Isaac Cross was an minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church of New Jersey, with a history of working for relief of impoverished African-Americans. After the Civil War got underway, and wounded Union soldiers and masses of freedmen packed Washington, Cross decided to play an active role in serving their spiritual needs. In November 1862 Cross obtained a letter from the Newark Conference of his church stating that he was Òqualified, in their judgment, to receive the appointment of chaplain in the service of the United States.Ó This commendation was signed over a dozen officials and pastors in the church, a chaplain in the Hospital Department in New Jersey, H. J. Johnson, the colonel of the 8th N.J. Regiment, and by a major general in the New Jersey militia. Cross also had a certification dated December 1, 1862, from his Conference that he was a minister Òin good and regular standingÓ, and moreover ÒHis Christian and ministerial deportment are such as to commend him to the confidence of the Federal authoritiesÉÓCross brought these to President Lincoln in person on December 15, 1862. just as the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg was winding up, and wounded soldiers were beginning to stream into the hospitals in and around Washington. To show LincolnÕs state of mind at the time, just three days later Lincoln would tell a friend, ÒWe are now on the brink of destruction.Ó Lincoln heard Cross express his desire to minister to those in the hospitals, specifically naming the Ebenezer Church and Odd Fellows Hall Hospitals in Washington. Autograph Note Signed as President, Washington, December 15, 1862, setting in motion the appointment of Cross that would culminate in his service as chaplain to the Contraband Camp and Hospi. N° de ref. de la librería 11130

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Título: The Original, Unpublished Recommendation of ...

Ejemplar firmado: Signed by Author(s)

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The Raab Collection buys and sells rare important historical documents, bring to its endeavors a passion not only for the manuscript but the history behind it. We've built important historical collections for institutions and historical enthusiasts. Our pieces have found homes in many major institutions devoted to preserving history.

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