The proclamation states that the forces of the United States were preparing to enter the Eastern Shore of Virginia through Maryland, and were not looking for a battle. They were simply looking to ensure that the authority of the United States was still being recognized in a location that was most likely to support the Confederacy since their state, Virginia, had just voted to enter the Confederacy.
For any history buffs out there, I highly suggest reading the entire proclamation. It showcases, in my opinion, how the Union forces were laying out a pretty good deal for the residents of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. They weren't going to just enter the peninsula and start waging war against counties of a state that had just voted to enter the Confederacy. They were going to give them an opportunity to recognize the government of the United States and pledge their allegiance to the government. If anything, the Union forces were on the peninsula solely to pacify it from participating with the rest of the state in the Confederacy.
The full text of the proclamation:
This proclamation comes just over month after my fourth great-grandfather pledged his allegiance to the United States to the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Louisiana, despite being a loyal citizen of Virginia living on the Eastern Shore.PROCLAMATION TO THE PEOPLE OF ACCOMAC AND NORTHAMPTON COUNTIES, VA.
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 forced to become your enemies. They will invade no rights 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 fireside will be disturbed, unless the disturbance is caused by yourselves.
Special directions have been given not to interfere with the condition of any persons held to domestic service; and, in order that there may be no ground for mistake or pretext for misrepresentation, commanders of regiments and corps have been instructed not to permit any such persons to come within their lines. The command of the expedition is intrusted to Brigadier-Gen. HENRY H. LOCKWOOD, of Delaware, A State identical, in some of the distinctive featuresof 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 maybe assured of the sympathy of near neighbors, as well as friends, if you do not repel it by hostile resistance or attack. Their 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 the lights on your coast; to afford you a free export for the products of your labor, and 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 are desolating other districts of Virginia and have already crimsoned her fields 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. It 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 on 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 guarantee of all constitutional and legal rights, and the blessings of a just and parental Government.
JOHN A. DIX, Maj.-Gen. Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS, BALTIMORE, Nov. 13, 1861.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1861/11/27/news/ ... fifth.html