In this 1862 annual message President Lincoln sought to re-inspire Congress after the horrifying battle at Antietam—the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Likening the war to a "fiery trial," Lincoln summons the Union to the great task of abolishing slavery, declaring that "in giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free." In the tradition of the time this annual message was
read aloud not by Lincoln, but by the Secretary of the Senate.
RG 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives