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1863 November 7: The Draft in Wisconsin, and Selling the Emancipation Proclamation

November 10, 2013

From the November 7, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press, comes these two articles.  The first is a reprint from the Hudson Times, discussing the upcoming draft(s).

The second regards using the original manuscript copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to raise money for the medical care of soldiers, and then selling it to raise even more money.  Unfortunately, the copy mentioned here has not survived.  It burned in the famous Chicago Fire of 1871, having been framed and displayed at the Chicago Historical Society until that fateful night when a fire started in the O’Leary barn.

The Draft.

The Hudson Times says :— “The quota of this State under the call for 20 per cent. of the men enrolled in the first class, to be drafted for on the 9th of next month, is 13 769, we have furnished an excess, however, of between four and five thousand on previous calls, which excess will be credited in this call, leaving the number of men to be drafted next month at at [sic] between eight and nine thousand.  This will be one man in every eight in the State, of the first class.  In addition to this draft now pending, there is another call for 300,000 volunteers.  If enough volunteers are not obtained before the 5th of January next, a draft will take place to make up the deficiency.  Under this last call our quota in this State is 9,724, or one man in every seven.

Credits are not to be given to towns or wards but to Congressional Districts.  This district has furnished a large excess over other districts in the State, so that our proportion of men to be drafted will not be so large as that vien above, probably about one man in every five, under both calls.  These figures are nearly correct as they are obtained from official sources.”

The Original Emancipation Proclamation.

President Lincoln, in compliance with a request from the Ladies of the Northwestern Fair, has sent them the original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.  It will be kept on exhibition during the Fair, and at the close will be sold for the benefit of the soldiers.  Accompanying the manuscript was the following letter :

EXECUTIVE MANSION, }
WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 1863. }

To the ladies having in charge the Northwestern Fair for the Sanitary Commission, Chicago, Illinois:

According to the request made in your behalf, the original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation is herewith enclosed.  The formal words at the top, and the conclusion, except the signature, you perceive are not in my handwriting.  They were written in the State Department, by whom I know not.  The printed part was cut from a copy of the preliminary proclamation, and pasted on merely to save writing.

I had some desire to retain the paper ;  but if it shall contribute to the relief or comfort of the soldiers, that will be better.

Your obedient servant,
………………….A. LINCOLN.

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