Abraham Lincoln's Order of Retaliation - July 30.
Executive Mansion, Washington D.C.
July 30. 1863
It is the duty of every government to give protection to its
citizens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to
those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The
law of nations and the usages and customs of war as carried on by
civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment
of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any
captured person, on account of his color, and for no offence against
the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism and a crime against the
civilization of the age.
The government of the United States will give the same protection to
all its soldiers, and if the enemy shall sell or enslave anyone
because of his color, the offense shall be punished by retaliation
upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States
killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be
executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into
slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public
works and continued at such labor until the other shall be released
and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war