Return to Department of the South

Return to Rufus Saxton Biography  

Return to
St. Augustine Civil War
General Rufus Saxton's
A Happy New Year's Greeting to the Colored
People in the Department of the South
January 1, 1863
General Rufus Saxton - A Happy New Year's Greeting to the Colored People in the Department of
the South

In accordance, as I believe, with the will of our Heavenly Father, and by direction of your great and
good friend, whose name you are all familiar with, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States,
and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, on the first day of January, 1863, you will be
declared "forever free."

When in the course of human events there comes a day which is destined to be an everlasting
beacon-light, marking a joyful era in the progress of a nation and the hopes of a people, it seems to
be fitting the occasion that it should not pass unnoticed by those whose hopes it comes to brighten
and to bless. Such a day to you is January 1st, 1863. I, therefore, call upon all the colored people in
this Department to assemble on that day at the headquarters of the First Regiment of South Carolina
Volunteers, there to hear the
President's Proclamation read, and to indulge in such other
manifestations of joy as may be called forth by the occasion.

It is your duty to carry this good news to your brethren who are still in slavery. Let all your voices, like
merry bells, join loud and clear in the grand chorus of liberty---"We are free,"  "We are free,"---until,
listening, you shall hear its echoes coming back from every cabin in the land---"We are free," "We
are free."

Note: This document was sent into the AMA New York office from Rev. A. Root on December 9th 1864
General Rufus Saxton
Military Governor
Dept of the South