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General David Hunter General Order 11
Proclamation Freeing Slaves in Georgia, Florida,
and South Carolina
War of Rebellion Records
General Hunter's Order 11

Head-quarters, Department of the South, Hilton Head, S.C. May 9, 1862

The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising the Military Department of the
South, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of
America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to
declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and
martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible. The persons in these three States---Georgia,
South Carolina, and Florida---heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.

David Hunter
Major-General Commanding
Ed. W. Smith Assistant Adjutant-General

* * *

This proclamation attempted to free slaves under which the
Department of the South had no control
emcompassing all three states of the Department. (Unlike the April proclamation freeing the slaves at Fort
Pulaski ---
See Proclamation) However, it did cover St. Augustine, Florida which was under Department
of the South control.

President Abraham would invalidate this proclamation (
See Lincoln's Response)

The use of his wording "slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible." was very
confusing and gave newspapers a field day in trashing this proclamation. But the proclamation was only
early by a few months and like General Fremont's proclamation lacked the perspective of the
commander-in-chief. In a few months the preliminary
Emancipation Proclamation would be published and
along the same lines as General Hunter cover a vast territory that was yet to be under control of the Union
army.
General David Hunter
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