To Department of the South
To General David Hunter
To Port Royal Experiment
General David Hunter, Department of the South
to Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, President of the National Freedmen's Relief Association
American Missionary, September 1862
AMA Records
This letter dated July 17, 1862 is from
General David Hunter, head of the Department of the South, to Rev. Stephen H. Tyng, head of the National
Freedmen's Relief Association. It was later published in the
New York Tribune and reprinted in the American Missionary (the magazine of the American
Missionary Association).

General Hunter was an abolitionist (and very political) General. He accompanied Lincoln to Washington, D. C. and would later accompany Lincoln's body
back. He was the presiding officer on the trial of the individuals who conspired to kill the President and other officers of the government.  This letter is his
defense of his actions in his
proclamation freeing the slaves of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and forming the first African American regiment.

The second paragraph gives his feelings toward emancipation: "enables me to wait with more patience for those inevitable days which are to give a policy
on the slavery question to our government."

He was a believer in total warfare: "Nothing can give us permanent peace but a successful prosecution of the war, with every weapon and energy at our
command, to its logical and legitimate conclusion." Not only would the issue of slavery and arming African Americans be part of this but later he would
carrying this message in the burning of parts of the Shenadoah valley.  

He was a visionary that was simply a few months ahead of his time. The preliminary
Emancipation Proclamation would be out on September 22, 1862.
Surprisingly July 17, 1862 was the date of the
Congressional authorization for the recruitment of African American troops which would be folded into the
Emancipation Proclamation.

General Hunter would be relieved of command in August 1862.
General David Hunter