Learning Lincoln On-line
FROM-- SET SEVEN, CIVIL WAR STUDIES
Topic Forty-three: Black Americans during the Civil War Picture Puzzle
ARTICLE #1 FREDERICK DOUGLASS VISITING LINCOLN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, FOR THE FIRST TIME
In July 1863, Douglass met with Lincoln in the White House to redress the grievances that the black troops were suffering as second-class citizens. It was unheard of for a colored man to go to the White House with a grievance. But he had many influential friends and admirers in Washington, and Senators Sumner, Wilson, and Pomeroy; Secretary of the Treasury Chase, Assistant Secretary of War Dana all guaranteed safe passage into Lincoln's presence. The one had traveled a long hard path from the slave cabin of Maryland, and the other a thorny road from the scant and rugged life of Kentucky, to the high position of President. The one was too great to be a slave, and the other too noble to remain, in such a national crisis, a private citizen. Senator Pomeroy introduced Douglass to the President and they soon found that they had much in common. The one had tray, to the high position of President.
Douglass stated three complaints to the President: that colored troops be paid the same as white troops; that they be fairly treated, especially when captured by the Confederates (some colored troops had been summarily executed or sent into slavery); and that colored troops should receive the same promotions as whites, when their valor in battle demanded it. A few days later, President Lincoln issued an order "that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labour on the public works."
After hearing Frederick Douglass' complaints, the President Lincoln would issue an "Order of Retaliation." Read article #2 for an excerpt of this order.