General Washington and General Jackson on Negro Soldiers

George BOKER   |   Nathaniel BANKS   |   Henry Carey BAIRD

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"EVERY NEGRO WHO SHALL WELL AND FAITHFULLY SERVE AS A SOLDIER… SHALL BE EMANCIPATED": VERY SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF GENERAL WASHINGTON AND GENERAL JACKSON ON NEGRO SOLDIERS, 1863

(BAIRD, Henry Carey). General Washington and General Jackson, on Negro Soldiers. Philadelphia: Henry Carey Baird, 1863. Octavo, later blue paper wrappers; pp. 8. $2000.

First edition of General Washington and General Jackson on Negro Soldiers, issued at the height of the Civil War, assembling works from the Revolution and War of 1812 on military and congressional works that proposed turning to free and enslaved Black men for soldiers in America's wars with Britain.

This elusive work compiles excerpts on Black soldiers who served in the American Revolution and War of 1812. Edited by Henry Carey Baird, it cites congressional journals, memoirs, histories and military documents, and includes the observation: "Washington, Hamilton, General Greene" and others were "warm friends" of a measure in the March 29, 1779 Secret Journals of Congress, which proposed South Carolina and Georgia raise "three thousand able-bodied Negroes." It noted "that the said Negroes be formed into separate corps… to be commanded by white commissioned and non-commissioned officers… [and] that every Negro who shall well and faithfully serve as a soldier to the end of the present war, and shall then return his arms, be emancipated and receive the sum of fifty dollars" (emphasis in original). Also featured is the printing of Andrew Jackson's September 21, 1814 proposal issued in the War of 1812, titled, To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana. It states in part: "As sons of freedom… your country looks with confidence to her adopted children… to rally round the standard of the Eagle." This "revealed his desperate need for soldiers prior to the Battle of New Orleans. Ultimately Jackson accepted free Blacks and even slaves to man his defensive line at Chalmette." While the "white New Orleans Committee of Defense surprisingly endorsed Jackson's proposal, it did so only providing "'there could be a guaranty, against the return of the regiment" at the end of the war. "In effect, what white citizens really wanted was to hire Black soldiers, pay them after the crisis, and then send them off far away" (Smith, Slave's Gamble). First edition. Issued same year as copies also printed in Philadelphia, additionally containing: "General Nathaniel Banks' Valor of the Negro Troops Indorsed" and George H. Boker's poem, "The Second Louisiana," with imprint: "Printed for Gratuitous Distribution"; no priority determined. Sabin 2780.

Text fresh with a bit of soiling.Extremely good.

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