President Abraham Lincoln presented his first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet for critique and revision on July 22, 1862. Lincoln’s next submission of his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was presented again to his Cabinet on September 22, 1862 announcing that in one hundred days the federal government would free all enslaved people in the states rebelling against the Union.
Anticipation was high as to whether Lincoln would, indeed, issue the Proclamation in one hundred days. People watched through the night of December 31 st 1862, and Lincoln did issue his signed wartime Executive Order on January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the seceding states. The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which addressed the abolition of slavery in the United States, was proposed January 31, 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865.
In 1864, Lincoln donated his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 to the Albany Relief Bazaar to be raffled to raise funds for the Union war effort. Gerrit Smith of Peterboro bought one thousand tickets at one dollar each, won the document, and donated it back to the Relief Bazaar to raise more money. At that time the New York State Legislature bought the Proclamation for one thousand dollars and placed it in the New York State Museum.
The final signed Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863 burned in the Chicago Fire of October 8, 1871. That made the September 1862 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation the only Proclamation document in Lincoln’s own hand. The facsimile of this treasured document will be on display during the Watch Night event organized by Retired Naval Commander Owen Corpin in Peterboro, NY, on December 31st.
The event begins at 11 am with a tour of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and Navy Service stories shared by Corpin, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. At noon a lunch will be provided followed by Peterboro heritage announcements for 2020, songs, the Watch Fire behind the Center, and the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.
This program is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to dress warm.
The Smithfield Community Center is located at 5255 Pleasant Valley Road in Peterboro. For more information call (315) 750-6561, (315) 750-2437, or email email@example.com.
Photo of Emancipation Readers Watch Night provided.