Some soldiers willing to fight to preserve the Union were unwilling to fight to abolish slavery. Even when not opposed to emancipation, many officers and men complained that freed slaves, for whom they lacked food or support, overwhelmed their camps and lines. Some Northerners tried to convince Lincoln to rescind the proclamation and negotiate with the Confederacy.
(Document -- Illustration) Lincoln Writing the Emancipation Proclamation, Adalber J. Volck, ca 1880 or 1890. One of the major arguments against the Emancipation Proclamation was that Lincoln lacked the constitutional authority to enact it. His answer was that his wartime presidential powers gave him the authority to issue it as a military necessity. In this satirical cartoon, Lincoln's foot rests on the Constitution.
(Document) Letter from Hillary Shifflet to his wife, Jermina, Camp Sill, Tennessee, February 13, 1863. A soldier complains, "this unholy war wood a bin over if oald Lincoln wood a let the negros alone."
(Document) Letter from a 12th Vermont militiaman, Fairfax County, Virginia, January 1, 1863. This unidentified soldier declares that "the Administration are generally damned by the soldiers."