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The Reconstruction Military Districts

Discussion in 'Post Civil War History, The Reconstruction Period' started by Pat Young, Mar 2, 2017.

  1. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    1. WHEREAS no legal State governments or adequate protection for life or property now exists in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas; and whereas it is necessary that peace and good order should be enforced in said States until loyal and republican State governments can be legally established...

    2. Be it enacted . . ., That said rebel States shall be divided into military districts and made subject to the military authority of the United States as hereinafter prescribed, and for that purpose Virginia shall constitute the first district; North Carolina and South Carolina the second district; Georgia, Alabama, and Florida the third district; Mississippi and Arkansas the fourth district; and Louisiana and Texas the fifth district. From the First Reconstruction Act
    The Reconstruction Act of March 2, 1867 created five Military Districts into which the ten unreconstructed Southern states were placed for administration. These Military Districts were each commanded by a United States army officer of no less than the rank of Brigadier General.

    I want to use this thread to look at the Military Districts, post factual information about them, and use this as a resource and jumping off point for other threads on the Military Districts and Reconstruction.
     

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  3. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Here is a map showing the different districts:

    reconstruction military districts.JPG
     
  4. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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  5. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    According to the Library of Virginia:

    Virginia was designated Military District Number One and Major General John M. Schofield was appointed commander. Under military government, African American males voted for the first on October 22, when ballots were cast for delegates to a constitutional convention. The constitutional convention, to which about two dozen African American men were elected, met from December 3, 1867, to April 17, 1868. General Schofield did not allow the required referendum on the constitution to take place because it disenfranchised many former Confederates and altered the format of local governance. Schofield also replaced Governor Pierpont with Henry H. Wells.

    The constitution, which provided for universal manhood suffrage, finally went to voters on July 6, 1869, and was passed. A provision that disenfranchised former Confederates was submitted to voters separately and was defeated. On October 8, 1869, Virginia voted to ratify the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as part of the requirement for being readmitted to the Union. The act readmitting Virginia to the Union and its representatives into Congress was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on January 26, 1870. This ended the era of Reconstruction in Virginia.
     
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  6. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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  7. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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  8. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    The Fourth Military District consisted of Arkansas and Mississippi.

    Its commanders were:

    Edward Ord (1867-1868)
    [Looking further into this]
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
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  9. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    The Fifth Military District consisted of Louisiana and Texas and was headquartered at New Orleans.

    It was commanded by:
    Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan (1867)
    Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock (1867-1868)
    Gen. Robert C. Buchanan (1868)
    Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds (1868)
    Gen. Edward Canby (1868)
    Gen. Joseph J. Reynolds (1869)
     
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  10. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Let me know if I need to correct any of this info. Also, I am uncertain of the ranks of some of the commanders.
     
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  11. unionblue

    unionblue Brev. Brig. Gen'l Member of the Year

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    Great thread, Pat.

    Interested in reading more of it.

    Sincerely,
    Unionblue
     
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  12. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks UB. I will try to get back to this thread in a few days. In the meantime, everyone should feel free to post their own stuff on the subject.
     
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  13. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    I want to begin looking at the duties of the military governors.

    One of the most important duties was pursuant to Section 5 of the Reconstruction Act:
    SECTION 5. And be it further enacted, That when the people of any one of said rebel States shall have formed a constitution of government in conformity with the Constitution of the United States in all respects, framed by a convention of delegates elected by the male citizens of said State, twenty-one years old and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in said State for one year previous to the day of such election

    The military governor was to call for a constitutional convention in each state and supervise the registration of voters for the convention. The governor was to register male voters otherwise qualified no matter what the color of their skin was. The commander was also to prevent from registering to vote men who sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution prior to the Civil War, but had then participated in the rebellion.
     
  14. roberts

    roberts Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Pat, the selection of the generals is interesting as well. The first set of generals was appointed by Andrew Johnson from a list submitted by Grant...but he quickly replaced most of the commanders when he did not like their actions.
     
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  15. roberts

    roberts Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    IIRC Ord was replaced by General McDowell with General Gillem acting for awhile. I don't believe that Ames was ever commander of the 4th district but he was military governor of Mississippi.
     
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  16. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks I will delete Ames right away and do some more research over the weekend.
     
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  17. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    The replacement of Sheridan particularly irked Grant.
     
  18. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Sheridan reflected on his service as commander of Military District Five in his memoirs:

    Therefore, when outrages and murders grew frequent, and the aid of military power was an absolute necessity for the protection of life, I employed it unhesitatingly-the guilty parties being brought to trial before military commissions-and for a time, at least, there occurred a halt in the march of terrorism inaugurated by the people whom [President] Johnson had deluded. 2 PHILIP SHERIDAN, PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF P.H. SHERIDAN 262 (1999) (1881).

    For more on this: http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020&context=auilr
     
  19. roberts

    roberts Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Sorry Pat but I was incorrect on this...

    Grant removed Gillem and replaced him with Ames... Ames actually served as military governor and military commander at the same time until MS was readmitted and then he became a US senator for the state.
     
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  20. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Thanks.
     
  21. Pat Young

    Pat Young Colonel Forum Host

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    Background on the Reconstruction Act that created the Military Districts:

     

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