“You say you will not fight to free negroes”

Abraham Lincoln to James C. Conkling (1816-1899). Draft letter, August 26, 1863. Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

You say you will not fight to free negroes. Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union. Whenever you shall have conquered all resistance to the Union, if I shall urge you to continue fighting, it will be an apt time then for you to declare you will not fight to free negroes.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.


  1. Educação
    July 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    He was a great man! One of my heroes! I think a did a post of him im my blog about literatura

  2. Mollymacias
    September 11, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Mr. Abraham Lincoln, was sent by GOD… And taken when his work was one…God raises whom HE will and remove also, according to HIS will. Thank GOD for Mr. Lincoln and the very brave who gave their lives for us…