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Chapter Forty-one. The Military and Reconstruction, 1862–77

Margaret M. Storey

Subject History » Military History
Study of History » Historiography

Place United States of America » American South

Key-Topics war

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161497.2010.00043.x


The military's role in the reconstruction of the former Confederacy actually began during the war in those areas of the South occupied by Union soldiers – in cities (including New Orleans, Memphis, and Nashville), and large swaths of countryside throughout the region, but particularly in Tennessee, northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. The behavior of federal troops in these areas was regulated by “General Order No. 100,” later published as the Instructions for the Government of the Armies of the United States in the Field (1863), a field manual drafted by Francis Lieber, a German immigrant who had sons in both the Union and Confederate armies ( Friedel 1947 , Grimsley 1995 ). The Instructions provided a code of conduct for troops, but not guidelines for governing civilians – particularly resistant civilians – guidelines which became necessary when civilian governments collapsed as Union troops advanced into southern states. The resulting ambiguity left much to the discretion of local commanders, and as a consequence, great variability marked the methods and organization of federal occupation during the war ( Capers 1965 , Blassingame 1973 , Maslowski 1978 ). Most army commanders met the situation by ordering provost marshals to expand their police functions to include the civilian population. Provost marshals arrested civilians who refused to swear allegiance to the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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