11.1.16

CODIFYING CONFISCATION.

Our President's recent executive order dealing with gun sales is, in the words of Milwaukee radio talker Charlie Sykes, a "nothingburger."  It has had the desired political effect, though, making Our President's opponents angry and firing up his base.  Including the idiot parts of the base.


Where is Mr Obama going to find his Grant and Sherman to enforce that order?

Perhaps the giggly juveniles at "Forward Progressives" missed the fine print in the Emancipation Proclamation that referred only to slaves held in the states in rebellion.

There's also the little matter that "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."  That passage certainly applied to troops in the field, particularly in the Western Theater in 1862, where the Army, Navy, and called into actual Service Militia had a logistics problem on their hands.

That is, what do the Articles of War have to say about contraband property, including slaves compelled to dig fortifications for rebellious commanders?  And what rights do slaveowners have to seek redress under the Fugitive Slave Law to request the return of their property, when said property took advantage of the presence of Federal troops to run away.  (Yes, that happened.  New example of chutzpah: renounce allegiance to the United States, then call on its government to enforce its own laws.)  Thus depriving slaveholders of their property as a way of reducing their ability to wage war is consistent with existing rules of war calling for the confiscation of contraband property, and depriving slaveholders of their redress under the Fugitive Slave Law is most easily accomplished by preemptively abridging those property rights.

But Mr Lincoln could not issue that proclamation until he had credible hopes that the Washington Generals could deal with Lee and Jackson.  He issued it after Antietam.

By which time New Orleans was liberated and Admiral Farragut's fleet controlled the lower Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, and Nashville and Memphis were liberated and the Army of the Tennessee were moving on Vicksburg from upstream.  And the Emancipation Proclamation codified facts on the ground in a manner consistent with the way military commanders were acting, abolitionist sentiments or not.

Not the first time I've lamented people mistaking what happened between Harrisburg and Petersburg as the only major events of the Civil War.

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