Following General Fremont's martial law proclamation of August 1861, where he declared all slaves of disloyal owners to be free, we know that Lincoln rescinded the order based on constitutional concerns and out of fear that it would push the Border states into the Confederacy. Lincoln's revocation was subjected to severe criticism by some including long time friend Orville Browning. On Sept. 22, 1861 Lincoln responded in a confidential letter to Browning's criticism where the president stated "[t]hat you should object to my adhering to a law, which you had assisted in making, and presenting to me, less than a month before, is odd enough. But this is a very small part. Genl. Fremont's proclamation, as to confiscation of property, and the liberation of slaves, is purely political, and not within the range of military law, or necessity. If a commanding General finds a necessity to seize the farm of a private owner, for a pasture, an encampment, or a fortification, he has the right to do so, and to so hold it, as long as the necessity lasts; and this is within military law, because within military necessity. But to say the farm shall no longer belong to the owner, or his heirs forever; and this as well when the farm is not needed for military purposes as when it is, is purely political, without the savor of military law about it. And the same is true of slaves. If the General needs them, he can seize them, and use them; but when the need is past, it is not for him to fix their permanent future condition. That must be settled according to laws made by law-makers, and not by military proclamations. The proclamation in the point in question, is simply 'dictatorship.' It assumes that the general may do anything he pleases---confiscate the lands and free the slaves of loyal people, as well as of disloyal ones. And going the whole figure I have no doubt would be more popular with some thoughtless people, than that which has been done! But I cannot assume this reckless position; nor allow others to assume it on my responsibility. You speak of it as being the only means of saving the government. On the contrary it is itself the surrender of the government. Can it be pretended that it is any longer the government of the U.S.---any government of Constitution and laws,---wherein a General, or a President, may make permanent rules of property by proclamation? I do not say Congress might not with propriety pass a law, on the point, just such as General Fremont proclaimed. I do not say I might not, as a member of Congress, vote for it. What I object to, is, that I as President, shall expressly or impliedly seize and exercise the permanent legislative functions of the government." During May 1862, abolitionist General David Hunter, declared all slaves "forever free" in his military department which was comprised of the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Hunter included the slaves of both loyal and disloyal owners in his edict. On May 19, 1862, Lincoln issued his "Proclamation Revoking General Hunter's Order of Military Emancipation of May 9, 1862" stating that under his War powers, the prerogative to emancipate as a military necessity was his alone. On July 17, 1862, Congress responded to some of Lincoln's statutory concerns he had expressed in his letter to Browning by enacting the Second Confiscation Act. This act authorized the seizure of property and slaves of any person who assisted or engaged in rebellion against the United States and declared that all seized slaves were "forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves." However, all property and slave seizures were subject to judicial review. Following Union setbacks during 1862, Lincoln, under pressure from his advisors, some military commanders, abolitionists, and radical congressmen, opted to change the Union's strategy to that of hard war which included the destruction of enemy property and the overthrow of the South's social institutions. The Administration reasoned that the protection of slavery is what led to the war and slavery helped prolong the war. Using only his constitutional authority as Chief Executive, Lincoln issued a Preliminary Proclamation on September 22, 1862, warning that emancipation would be forthcoming to any state in rebellion that did not return to the Union by January 1, 1863. Unlike the Second Confiscation Act, all slaves, regardless of the loyalty of their owner, would be free. He further alluded to compensation for slaveowners within any loyal slave state which implimented immediate or gradual emancipation as law, and as an enticement to those loyal slaveowners in the rebellious states, compensation for loss of property and slaves if their state returned to the Union. On January 1, 1863 Lincoln, invoking his War powers as Commander-in-Chief, issued the Emancipation Proclamation affecting the slaves of both loyal and disloyal owners in areas of rebellion with no mention of compensation for the freed slaves. Hence, my question. Was the Emancipation Proclamation legal? If so, why? If not, please explain.