The Second Confiscation Act included provisions that freed the slaves of disloyal owners, authorized the president to employ African Americans in the suppression of the rebellion, and called for exploring voluntary colonization efforts.
The Militia Act authorized the employment of African Americans in the military, emancipated those who were enslaved, and freed their families, if owned by those disloyal to the Union.
In principle, Lincoln approved of emancipation as a war measure, but he postponed executive action against slavery until he believed he had both the legal authority to do so and broader support from the American public.
Two pieces of congressional legislation passed on July 17, 1862, provided the desired signal.
Some Union commanders took matters into their own hands, declaring emancipation by proclamation. Frémont attempted to address the "disorganized condition" in the Department of the West by declaring martial law and proclaiming free the slaves of active Confederate sympathizers in Missouri.
Frémont failed to inform first President Lincoln, who requested Frémont amend his proclamation to conform to the 1861 Confiscation Act.
Seward and Gideon Welles on July 13, 1862, while sharing a carriage ride from the funeral of Secretary of War Edwin M. Welles later recalled that neither he nor Seward were prepared to offer opinions on a subject that Seward thought "involved consequences so vast and momentous," but he agreed with Seward's initial impression that the measure was both "justifiable" and perhaps "expedient and necessary." Edwin M.
Stanton’s notes of the reaction of the cabinet to Abraham Lincoln’s introduction of his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, July 22, 1862.
In May 1861, just a month into the war, three slaves (Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory, and James Townsend) owned by Confederate Colonel Charles K.
Mallory escaped from Hampton, Virginia, where they had been put to work on behalf of the Confederacy, and sought protection within Union-held Fortress Monroe before their owner sent them further south. Mallory demanded their return under the Fugitive Slave Law, Union General Benjamin F.