This Day in Georgia Civil War History
May 09, 1862
Order to Free Slaves
“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, Florida, and South Carolina heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free.”
However, President Abraham Lincoln, concerned that the order might prompt border states to join the Confederacy, would countermand the order ten days later.