“ALL DESERTERS RETURNING WITHIN SIXTY DAYS… SHALL BE PARDONED”: LINCOLN’S BROADSIDE PROCLAMATION RELATIVE TO PARDONS, 1864, FIRST PUBLIC NOTICE
LINCOLN, Abraham. Proclamation of the President Relative to Pardons for Deserters. PART OF: An Act for Enrolling and Calling Out the National Forces. [Washington: Government Printing Office, circa February 24, 1864]. Small broadside, measuring 8-1/2 by 11 inches. $3500.
First public notice of the February 24, 1864 Presidential proclamation regarding deserters, appended to the amended conscription Act of 1863.
“After volunteering almost stopped during the winter of 1862-1863, the Lincoln administration put its weight behind a new conscription act, signed by the President on March 3… Unlike the 1862 act allocating military quotas to states, it took the recruiting of soldiers out of the hands of state officials and made able-bodied males between the ages of 20 and 45 subject to call into the national service” (Donald, 417, 424). On February 24, 1864, Congress amended its act to exact the penalty of perjury on anyone submitting falsified proof of age. Appended to this re-publication is Lincoln’s proclamation regarding deserters, in which he offers pardons to those who would return to their regiments and serve out “the remainder of their original terms of enlistment, and, in addition thereto, a period equal to the time lost by desertion,” an additional effort to bolster flagging Union ranks. See Monaghan 305.
Three chips to edges, not affecting text, and faint horizontal fold. A nice, wide-margined copy in near-fine condition. Very scarce.