Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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- Jan 7, 2013
- Long Island, NY
Monday, Sep 01, 1862
We all know that the March 1862 Confiscation Act allowed the Union Army to free slaves who had been employed in the service of the Confederacy. In this article from a secessionist paper is reprinted the "Emancipation Paper" of formerly enslaved African American Jerry White. In the document you see several elements common to these freedom papers:
1. Statement of the identity of the individual. Until this paper was issued it is unlikely that Jerry White ever had any sort of government-issued id.
2. Statement that he was "formerly a slave." This indicates both his previous status "slave" and that the status had been terminated.
3. Statement that he had been in "rebel service" at the direction of his master. The March 1862 Confiscation Act was not a full-blown Emancipation Act, it applied only to those slaves who had been used for the support of the rebellion. The paper describes Jerry White as "forever" emancipated because his owner had used him to assist in the "break up" of the government.
4. Confiscation made Jerry "Contraband of War," theoretically allowing the Federal government to employ him as property. As you can see from the document, Curtis writes that since he is not needed to work for the government he is allowed to pass "northward" to freedom.