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The Amnesy Request of Brigadier General Claudius W. Sears

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by Championhilz, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Championhilz

    Championhilz Sergeant

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    This is the transcript of a letter written in 1865 by Brigadier General Claudius W. Sears to William L. Sharkey, provisional governor of Mississippi:


    U.S. Genl. Hospital No. 2

    Nashville, Tenn., June 23, 1862


    His Excellency Governor Sharkey

    State of Mississippi

    Governor:

    I have had the honor of applying to the President of the United States through the regular military channel for the benefits of the amnesty proclamation of May 29th, 1865. My application was approved and recommended by Maj. Gen. Thomas Comd. Of this Dept. We this day have a newspaper dispatch saying that the President has decided that all such applications must have the approval of the Governor of the State of which the applicant is a citizen.

    My application has already gone up accompanied with the amnesty oath administered by the Provost Marshall General of the Milt. Dept., and can not conveniently be referred to you, but I will be under many obligations for your recommendation to the President in my behalf. – Am restricted from the benefits of the amnesty on two points only – the 3rd and 8th. Am a citizen of Marshall County, Miss., and have never occupied a civil public station. On a call from the Governor of the state I entered the Milt. Service in May ’61 and had the honor of serving as a Brigadier General in the Army of Confederate States, with I trust some honor to the valor of Mississippians.

    Have no disposition to gainsay the apparent verdict of the war and trust I may be deemed worthy of further service to the honor of my country. My acquaintances in Mississippi is a good deal limited but can refer to the prominent citizens in the Northern portion of the state and doubtless to Bishop Green. Have had the reputation of being a quiet, unoffending citizen and trust I may do no discredit to the recommendation with which you may honor me. Was wounded at the battle of Nashville and am held as a Prisoner of War.

    I am very respectfully, your obt. Svt.,

    C.W. Sears,

    Late Brig. Gen., C.S.A.

    Prisoner of War



    The following endorsement was written on the back of Sears’ letter, probably by an aid to Governor Sharkey:

    Nashville, Tenn., June 23, 1865

    C.W. Sears, Late Brig. Gen., C.S.A.

    Asking recommendation for pardon as a prisoner [of] war at Nashville and his petition has been forwarded recommended by Genl. Thomas – but the President requires the approval of Governor of state.

    W.L. Sharkey Letters & Petitions, 1865, Series 771, Box 954, Mississippi Department of Archives & History
     

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  3. Ole Miss

    Ole Miss Corporal

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    General Sears taught at Ole Miss from 1865 to 1889. He is buried in St Peter's Cemetery in Oxford alongside his wife.
    Regards
    David
     
  4. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    on the long winding road
  5. RobertP

    RobertP Major

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    Map showing Sears’ Brigade occupying the center right at Shy’s Hill, on the Confederate left at the Battle of Nashville.

    4681055F-874B-4EE9-80F2-0D6F00114110.jpeg
     
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  6. JPK Huson 1863

    JPK Huson 1863 Colonel Forum Host

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    Have a question? Was this kind of letter requisite to enable lives to go back to normal, post war, as men returned to professions? Why was the governor's approval needed before a pardon could issued? Surely the governor of Mississippi would be in agreement, was it just the civil thing to do, including a governor in the conversation? These are just questions of sheer curiosity, truly.
     
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  7. Ole Miss

    Ole Miss Corporal

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    You must realize that at the time of Sear's request the Johnson administration had taken control of all ex- Confederate state's civil and public activities. William L. Sharkey had been appointed provisional governor---by Johnson---` to establish and organize the election of representatives for the state constitutional convention. The Deep South states like Mississippi had such a large percentage of former slaves that the political process was very complicated and dangerous.

    In Sear's letter he mentioned that "Am restricted from the benefits of the amnesty on two points only – the 3rd and 8th."

    "The following classes of persons are excepted from the benefits of this proclamation:

    First – All who are or shall have been pretended civil or diplomatic officers, or otherwise domestic or foreign agents of the pretended Confederate Government.

    Second – All who left judicial stations under the United States to aid the rebellion.

    Third – All who shall have been military or naval officers of said pretended Confederate Government above the rank of Colonel in the army or Lieutenant in the navy.

    Fourth – All who left seats in the Congress of the United States to aid the rebellion.

    Fifth – All who resigned or tendered resignations of their commissions in the army or navy of the United States, to evade duty in resisting the rebellion.

    Sixth – All who have engaged in any way in treating otherwise than lawfully as prisoners of war persons found in the United States service, as officers, soldiers, seamen, or in other capacities.

    Seventh – All persons who have been or are absentees from the United States for the purpose of aiding the rebellion.

    Eighth – All military and naval officers in the rebel service who were educated by the government in the Military Academy at West Point, or the United States Naval Academy.

    Ninth – All persons who held the pretended offices of Governors of States in insurrection against the United States.

    Tenth – All persons who left their homes within the jurisdiction and protection of the United States and passed beyond the Federal military lines into the so-called Confederate States, for the purpose of aiding the rebellion.

    Eleventh – All parties who have been engaged in the destruction of the commerce of the United States upon the high seas, and all persons who have made raids into the United States from Canada, or been engaged in destroying the commerce of the United States upon the lakes and rivers that separate the British Provinces from the United States.

    Twelfth – All persons who at the time when they seek to obtain the benefits hereof by taking the oath herein prescribed, are in military naval, or civil confinement, or custody, or under bonds of the civil, military or naval authorities or agents of the United States, as prisoners of war, or persons detained for offences of any kind either before or after conviction.

    Thirteenth – All persons who have voluntarily participated in said rebellion, and the estimated value of whose taxable property is over twenty thousand dollars.

    Fourteenth – All persons who have taken the oath of amnesty as prescribed in the President's Proclamation of December 8, A.D., 1863, or an oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States since the dates of said proclamation, and who have not thenceforward kept and maintained the same inviolate – provided that special application may be made to the President for pardon by any person belonging to the excepted classes, and such clemency will be liberally extended as may be consistent with the facts of the case and the peace and dignity of the United States.[5]" **
    Regards
    David
    **
     
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  8. Specster

    Specster Sergeant Major

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    Awesome -- Nice work
     
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  9. lelliott19

    lelliott19 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host Trivia Game Winner

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    @JPK Huson 1863 here's the one filed by my 2x great grandfather. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/re...d-accusations-by-provisional-governor.106283/

    He was a surgeon - a non-combatant. But he was exempted from the amnesty proclamation because of the value of his property. He had to file more than once, apparently due to non-cooperation on the part of the provisional governor Parsons. A bunch of people chimed in on the thread so reading another example might help you gain a more complete understanding of the process. In Alabama, apparently you had to respond to a series of questions about whether or not they ordered the taking of Fort Morgan or Mt Vernon Arsenal; whether you were under arrest; etc. Pretty interesting stuff.
     

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