|The Second Confiscation Act - July 17, 1862
|CHAP. CXCV.- An Act to suppress Insurrection, to punish Treason and Rebellion, to seize and
confiscate the Property of Rebels, and for other Purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, That every person who shall hereafter commit the crime of treason against
the United States, and shall be adjudged guilty thereof, shall suffer death, and all his slaves, if
any, shall be declared and made free; or, at the discretion of the court, he shall be imprisoned for
not less than five years and fined not less than ten thousand dollars, and all his slaves, if any,
shall be declared and made free; said fine shall be levied and collected on any or all of the
property, real and personal, excluding slaves, of which the said person so convicted was the
owner at the time of committing the said crime, any sale or conveyance to the contrary
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That if any person shall hereafter incite, set on foot, assist, or
engage in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States, or the laws
thereof, or shall give aid or comfort thereto, or shall engage in, or give aid and comfort to, any
such existing rebellion or insurrection, and be convicted thereof, such person shall be punished
by imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand
dollars, and by the liberation of all his slaves, if any he have; or by both of said punishments, at
the discretion of the court.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That every person guilty of either of the offences described in
this act shall be forever incapable and disqualified to hold any office under the United States.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall not be construed in any way to affect or alter
the prosecution, conviction, or punishment of any person or persons guilty of treason against the
United States before the passage of this act, unless such person is convicted under this act.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That, to insure the speedy termination of the present rebellion,
it shall be the duty of the President of the United States to cause the seizure of all the estate and
property, money, stocks, credits, and effects of the persons hereinafter named in this section,
and to apply and use the same and the proceeds thereof for the support of the army of the United
States, that is to say:
First. Of any person hereafter acting as an officer of the army or navy of the rebels in arms
against the government of the United States.
Secondly. Of any person hereafter acting as President, Vice-President, member of Congress,
judge of any court, cabinet officer, foreign minister, commissioner or consul of the so-called
confederate states of America.
Thirdly. Of any person acting as governor of a state, member of a convention or legislature, or
judge of any court of any of the so-called confederate states of America.
Fourthly. Of any person who, having held an office of honor, trust, or profit in the United States,
shall hereafter hold an office in the so-called confederate states of America.
Fifthly. Of any person hereafter holding any office or agency under the government of the so-
called confederate states of America, or under any of the several states of the said confederacy,
or the laws thereof, whether such office or agency be national, state, or municipal in its name or
character: Provided, That the persons, thirdly, fourthly, and fifthly above described shall have
accepted their appointment or election since the date of the pretended ordinance of secession of
the state, or shall have taken an oath of allegiance to, or to support the constitution of the so-
called confederate states.
Sixthly. Of any person who, owning property in any loyal State or Territory of the United States, or
in the District of Columbia, shall hereafter assist and give aid and comfort to such rebellion; and
all sales, transfers, or conveyances of any such property shall be null and void; and it shall be a
sufficient bar to any suit brought by such person for the possession or the use of such property,
or any of it, to allege and prove that he is one of the persons described in this section.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That if any person within any State or Territory of the United
States, other than those named as aforesaid, after the passage of this act, being engaged in
armed rebellion against the government of the United States, or aiding or abetting such rebellion,
shall not, within sixty days after public warning and proclamation duly given and made by the
President of the United States, cease to aid, countenance, and abet such rebellion, and return to
his allegiance to the United States, all the estate and property, moneys, stocks, and credits of
such person shall be liable to seizure as aforesaid, and it shall be the duty of the President to
seize and use them as aforesaid or the proceeds thereof. And all sales, transfers, or
conveyances, of any such property after the expiration of the said sixty days from the date of
such warning and proclamation shall be null and void; and it shall be a sufficient bar to any suit
brought by such person for the possession or the use of such property, or any of it, to allege and
prove that he is one of the persons described in this section.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That to secure the condemnation and sale of any of such
property, after the same shall have been seized, so that it may be made available for the purpose
aforesaid, proceedings in rem shall be instituted in the name of the United States in any district
court thereof, or in any territorial court, or in the United States district court for the District of
Columbia, within which the property above described, or any part thereof, may be found, or into
which the same, if movable, may first be brought, which proceedings shall conform as nearly as
may be to proceedings in admiralty or revenue cases, and if said property, whether real or
personal, shall be found to have belonged to a person engaged in rebellion, or who has given aid
or comfort thereto, the same shall be condemned as enemies' property and become the property
of the United States, and may be disposed of as the court shall decree and the proceeds thereof
paid into the treasury of the United States for the purposes aforesaid.
SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the several courts aforesaid shall have power to make
such orders, establish such forms of decree and sale, and direct such deeds and conveyances to
be executed and delivered by the marshals thereof where real estate shall be the subject of sale,
as shall fitly and efficiently effect the purposes of this act, and vest in the purchasers of such
property good and valid titles thereto. And the said courts shall have power to allow such fees
and charges of their officers as shall be reasonable and proper in the premises.
SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in
rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort
thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves
captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the
government of the United States; and all slaves of such person found on [or] being within any
place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall
be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as
SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the
District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or
hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offence against the laws, unless the person
claiming said fugitive shall first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of such
fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has not borne arms against the United States
in the present rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no person engaged in
the military or naval service of the United States shall, under any pretence whatever, assume to
decide on the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor of any other person, or
surrender up any such person to the claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.
SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States is authorized to
employ as many persons of African descent as he may deem necessary and proper for the
suppression of this rebellion, and for this purpose he may organize and use them in such manner
as he may judge best for the public welfare.
SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That the President of the United States is hereby authorized
to make provision for the transportation, colonization, and settlement, in some tropical country
beyond the limits of the United States, of such persons of the African race, made free by the
provisions of this act, as may be willing to emigrate, having first obtained the consent of the
government of said country to their protection and settlement within the same, with all the rights
and privileges of freemen.
SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That the President is hereby authorized, at any time
hereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing
rebellion in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such time
and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.
SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That the courts of the United States shall have full power to
institute proceedings, make orders and decrees, issue process, and do all other things necessary
to carry this act into effect.
APPROVED, July 17, 1862.
U.S., Statutes at Large, Treaties, and Proclamations of the United States of America, vol. 12
(Boston, 1863), pp. 589-€“92.
* * *
This document is the forerunner of the Emancipation Proclamation. The document also empowers
the president to recruit African-American troops and section 10 would be the charge against Col.
Bell of the 4th New Hampshire by General Hunter, head of the Department of the South.
|Senator William Pitt Fessenden of Maine
|Speaker of the House