General McClellan and the Disposal of Fugitive Slaves

Some time ago, General Hooker asked Gen. McClellan what he should do with 50 or 60 fugitive slaves, who were within his lines at Budd’s Ferry.

Gen. McClellan replied with an order, directing him to inquire into each case whether the fugitive from bondage had or had not been employed in the military service of the enemy. If he had been, Gen. Hooker should employ him; if he had not, he should exclude him from his lines, thus temporarily liberating him and leaving the final disposition of the bondmen to the civil authorities.

It is understood that a similar rule will hereafter be applied in every case occurring within the army of the Potomac.

Further than this, Gen. McClellan is believed to be unwilling to go in the absence of other legislation than that of the July session of Congress.

Source Notes

Frederick Douglass,  —  born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, February 1818 – February 20, 1895 — was publisher and editor of Douglass’ Monthly.  He was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman.

Accessible Archives users have access to Douglass’ Monthly from January 1859 to August 1863.  We also have the Frederick Douglass’ Paper from 1851 to 1855.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: Douglass’ Monthly
Date: February, 1862
Title: General McClellan and the Disposal of Fugitive Slaves
Location: Rochester, New York

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