On March 10, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation offering amnesty to soldiers absent without leave upon returning to their regiments by April 1, 1863.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Respecting Soldiers absent without leave.
March 10, 1863.
In pursuance of the twenty-sixth section of the act of Congress, entitled “An act for enrolling and calling out the National Forces, and for other purposes, “approved on the third day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, I, Abraham Lincoln, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, do hereby order and command, that all soldiers enlisted or drafted in the service of the United States, now absent from their regiments without leave, shall forthwith return to their respective regiments.
And I do hereby declare and proclaim, that all soldiers now absent from their respective regiments without leave, who shall, on or before the first day of April, 1863, report themselves at any rendezvous designated by the General Orders of the War Department number fifty-eight, hereto annexed, may be restored to their respective regiments without punishment, except the forfeiture of pay and allowances during their absence; and all who do not return within the time above specified shall be arrested as deserters, and punished as the law provides.
And whereas evil-disposed and disloyal persons at sundry places have enticed and procured soldiers to desert and absent themselves from their regiments, thereby weakening the strength of the armies and prolonging the war, giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and cruelly exposing the gallant and faithful soldiers remaining in the ranks to increased hardships and danger, I do therefore call upon all patriotic and faithful citizens to oppose and resist the aforementioned dangerous and treasonable crimes, and to aid in restoring to their regiments all soldiers absent without leave, and to assist in the execution of the act of Congress “for enrolling and calling out the National Forces, and for other purposes, “and to support the proper authorities in the prosecution and punishment of offenders against said act, and in suppressing the insurrection and rebellion.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand.
Done at the city of Washington, this tenth day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.
By the President:
Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.