TO THE PEOPLE OF ACCOMAC AND NORTHAMPTON COUNTIES, VA., NOV. 13.
The military forces of the United States are about to enter your counties as a part of the Union. They will go among you as friends, and with the earnest hope that they may not by your own acts be compelled to become your enemies. They will invade no right of person or property. On the contrary, your laws, your institutions, your usages, will be scrupulously respected. There need be no fear that the quietude of any firesides will be disturbed, unless the disturbance is caused by yourselves. Special directions have been given not to interfere with the condition of any person held to domestic servitude, and in order that there may be no ground for mistake or pretext for misrepresentation, commanders of regiments or corps have been instructed not to permit such persons to come within their lines.
The command of the expedition is intrusted to Brig.-Gen. Henry H. Lockwood, of Delaware — a State identical in some of the distinctive features of its social organization with your own. Portions of his force come from counties in Maryland bordering on one of yours. From him and from them you may be assured of the sympathy of near neighbors, as well as friends, if you do not repel it by hostile resistance or attack.
This mission is to assert the authority of the United States, to reopen your intercourse with the loyal States, and especially with Maryland, which has just proclaimed her devotion to the Union by the most triumphant vote in her political annals; to restore to commerce its accustomed guides, by reestablishing the lights on your coast; to afford you a free export for the produce of your labor, a free ingress for the necessaries and comforts of life which you require in exchange, and in a word to put an end to the embarrassments and restrictions brought upon you by a causeless and unjustifiable rebellion.
If the calamities of intestine war which ire desolating other districts of Virginia, and have already crimsoned her lands with fraternal blood, fall also upon you, it will not be the fault of the Government. It asks only that its authority may be recognized. It sends among you a force too strong to be successfully opposed — a force which cannot be resisted in any other spirit than that of wantonness and malignity. If there are any among you, who, rejecting all overtures of friendship, thus provoke retaliation and draw down upon themselves consequences which the Government is most anxious to avert, to their account must be laid the blood which may be shed, and the desolation which may be brought upon peaceful homes. On all who are thus reckless of the obligations of humanity and duty, and all who are found in arms, the severest punishment warranted by the laws of war will be visited.
To those who remain in the quiet pursuit of their domestic occupations the public authorities assure all they can give peace, freedom from annoyance, protection from foreign and internal enemies, a guaranty of all Constitutional and legal rights, and the blessings of a just and parental Government.
John A. Dix,
Head-Quarters, Baltimore, Nov. 13, 1861.