Saturday, July 30, 2011

Butler: "Make the runaways contraband"

Robert Mercer Taliaferro HunterImage via Wikipedia
R.M.T. Hunter
  • In Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate Senate confirms Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter of Virginia as Secretary of State. R.M.T. Hunter is a former US Congressman (1837-1847), former Speaker of the House (1839-1841) and former US Senator from Virginia (1847-1861). Although once he aligned with John C. Calhoun on states' rights sovereignty, he served on the Congressional Committee of Thirteen during the winter of 1860, fruitlessly seeking compromise and peace against President-elect Lincoln's war-mongering./1861 
  • Cartoon of Fort Monroe Virginia depicting slav...Image via Wikipedia
    Cartoon depicting Butler's re-enslavement of runaways
  • In Washington, General Benjamin Butler in command at Fort Monroe, Virginia, presses US Secretary of War Simon Cameron to set a policy regarding slaves in Federal hands. Butler now has 900 runaway slaves and wants some clarity as to their status as property. “What shall be done with them?” he asks Cameron. Under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Laws they are property, and he is legally obligated to return them to their owners. Butler’s dehumanizing solution is to declare them “contraband of war” and put them to work building fortifications./1861
  • In Missouri, the pro-Union State Convention votes 56-25 to declare the Governor’s office vacant, thus unseating pro-secession Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, who is in command of the Missouri State Guard in southwest Missouri. The Missouri Secretary of State and Lieutenant Governor’s offices are already vacant, as are some  legislative seats because most of those holding office were secessionists who have now been purged and made to flee./1861

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