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509 Series III Volume V- Serial 126 - Union Letters, Orders, Reports

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Page 509 UNION AUTHORITIES.

directed to the establishment and maintenance of the Constitution and laws of the United States within and over the State of Tennessee. Without entering upon details it is sufficient to remark that extension of civil authority kept pace with the reduction of the rebel power. The Federal courts were opened and justice administered. Under his direction, against many discouragements and much opposition, great advance was made toward the full re-establishment of civil authority and the restoration of the State to its practical relations to the Federal Government. He issued a proclamation on the 6th of January, 1864, for the election of township and county officers, justices of the peace, constables, trustees, sheriffs, clerks, registers, and tax collectors. In the month of May a convention was held at Knoxville, East Tenn., to devise measures for restoring civil government in the State. In the month of August another convention was called to meet at Nashville on the 5th of September to reorganize the State. A full convention being prevented by the condition of military affairs, this body recommended that another convention, "elected by the loyal people," should assemble at an early day to revise the State constitution. The Governor issued at proclamation on the 7th of September announcing that he should proceed to appoint officers and establish tribunals "in all the counties and districts of the State whenever the people gave evidence of loyalty and a desire for civil government, and a willingness to sustain the officers and tribunals." A convention was called to meet on the 9th of January, 1865, at Nashville, to revise the State constitution. This convention met, amendments to the State constitution were adopted, slavery was abolished, and provision made for submitting the amendments to the people and for holding elections. The amendments were ratified by popular vote. A Governor, Legislature, and members of Congress were subsequently (on the 4th of March) elected by the people. The Legislature assembled on the first Monday of April; the abolition of slavery was enacted, Senators to Congress elected, and a State Government was fully organized, and has since continued in action. This system of reorganization having been found practicable by actual experience, it was adopted by the President, with such modifications as he deemed proper, for all the insurgent States, and is now in course of execution.

The disposition exhibited after the sthe insurgent States to submit to the national authority dispensed with the necessity of keeping large armies on foot, and indicated the degree to which the war power might be reduced. So much only of the national military force has been kept in each State as is needed to keep the peace, protect the public property, and enforce the laws.

It was apparent that by the surrender of General Lee and his army the military power on which alone the rebellion rested was irretrievably broken, no doubt being entertained that Lee's surrender would be followed by that of Johnston, and perhaps all other commanders of the insurgent forces. The attention of the Department was immediately directed to the following objects, and on the 13th of April, four days after Lee's surrender, public notice was given that orders would be speedily issued to carry them into effect, viz:

First. To stop all drafting and recruiting in the loyal States.

Second. To curtail purchases of arms, ammunition, quartermaster and commissary supplies, and reduce the expenses of the military establishment in the several branches.

Third. To reduce the number of general and staff officers to the actual necessities of the service.


Page 509 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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