The Memoirs of General Philip H. Sheridan, Vol. II., Part 5
P. H. Sheridan

Part 2 out of 2

"I had made up my mind to arrest the head men, if the proceedings of
the convention were calculated to disturb the tranquility of the
Department, but I had no cause for action until they committed the
overt act. In the mean time official duty called me to Texas, and
the mayor of the city, during my absence, suppressed the convention
by the use of the police force, and in so doing attacked the members
of the convention, and a party of two hundred negroes, with
fire-arms, clubs, and knives, in a manner so unnecessary and atrocious
as to compel me to say it was murder."

Against this garbling of my report--done by the President's own order
--I strongly demurred; and this emphatic protest marks the beginning of
Mr. Johnson's well-known personal hostility toward me. In the mean
time I received (on August 3) the following despatch from General Grant
approving my course:

"WAR DEPT., WASHINGTON, D. C., "August 3, 1866--5 p.m.

"Commanding Mil. Div. of the Gulf,
"New Orleans, La.

"Continue to enforce martial law, so far as may be necessary to
preserve the peace; and do not allow any of the civil authorities to
act, if you deem such action dangerous to the public safety. Lose no
time in investigating and reporting the causes that led to the riot,
and the facts which occurred.


In obedience to the President's directions, My report of August 1 was
followed by another, more in detail, which I give in full, since it
tells the whole story of the riot:

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 6, 1866.

"President United States

"I have the honor to make the following reply to your despatch of
August 4. A very large number of colored people marched in
procession on Friday night, July twenty-seven (27), and were
addressed from the steps of the City Hall by Dr. Dostie, ex-Governor
Hahn, and others. The speech of Dostie was intemperate in language
and sentiment. The speeches of the others, so far as I can learn,
were characterized by moderation. I have not given you the words of
Dostie's speech, as the version published was denied; but from what I
have learned of the man, I believe they were intemperate.

"The convention assembled at twelve (12) M. on the thirtieth (30),
the timid members absenting themselves because the tone of the
general public was ominous of trouble. I think there were about
twenty-six (26) members present. In front of the Mechanics
Institute, where the meeting was held, there were assembled some
colored men, women, and children, perhaps eighteen (18) or twenty
(20), and in the Institute a number of colored men, probably one
hundred and fifty (150). Among those outside and inside there might
have been a pistol in the possession of every tenth (10) man.

"About one (1) p. m. a procession of say from sixty (60) to one
hundred and thirty (130) colored men marched up Burgundy Street and
across Canal Street toward the convention, carrying an American flag.
These men had about one pistol to every ten men, and canes and clubs
in addition. While crossing Canal Street a row occurred. There were
many spectators on the street, and their manner and tone toward the
procession unfriendly. A shot was fired, by whom I am not able to
state, but believe it to have been by a policeman, or some colored
man in the procession. This led to other shots and a rush after the
procession. On arrival at the front of the Institute there was some
throwing of brickbats by both sides. The police, who had been held
well in hand, were vigorously marched to the scene of disorder. The
procession entered the Institute with the flag, about six (6) or
eight (8) remaining outside. A row occurred between a policeman and
one of these colored men, and a shot was again fired by one of the
parties, which led to an indiscriminate fire on the building through
the windows by the policemen. This had been going on for a short
time, when a white flag was displayed from the windows of the
Institute, whereupon the firing ceased, and the police rushed into
the building.

"From the testimony of wounded men, and others who were inside the
building, the policemen opened an indiscriminate fire upon the
audience until they had emptied their revolvers, when they retired,
and those inside barricaded the doors. The door was broken in, and
the firing again commenced, when many of the colored and white people
either escaped throughout the door or were passed out by the
policemen inside; but as they came out the policemen who formed the
circle nearest the building fired upon them, and they were again
fired upon by the citizens that formed the outer circle. Many of
those wounded and taken prisoners, and others who were prisoners and
not wounded, were fired upon by their captors and by citizens. The
wounded were stabbed while lying on the ground, and their heads
beaten with brickbats. In the yard of the building, whither some of
the colored men had escaped and partially secreted themselves, they
were fired upon and killed or wounded by policemen. Some were killed
and wounded several squares from the scene. Members of the
convention were wounded by the police while in their hands as
prisoners, some of them mortally.

"The immediate cause of this terrible affair was the assemblage of
this Convention; the remote cause was the bitter and antagonistic
feeling which has been growing in this community since the advent of
the present Mayor, who, in the organization of his police force,
selected many desperate men, and some of them known murderers.
People of clear views were overawed by want of confidence in the
Mayor, and fear of the thugs, many of which he had selected for his
police force. I have frequently been spoken to by prominent citizens
on this subject, and have heard them express fear, and want of
confidence in Mayor Monroe. Ever since the intimation of this last
convention movement I must condemn the course of several of the city
papers for supporting, by their articles, the bitter feeling of bad
men. As to the merciless manner in which the convention was broken
up, I feel obliged to confess strong repugnance.

"It is useless to disguise the hostility that exists on the part of a
great many here toward Northern men, and this unfortunate affair has
so precipitated matters that there is now a test of what shall be the
status of Northern men--whether they can live here without being in
constant dread or not, whether they can be protected in life and
property, and have justice in the courts. If this matter is
permitted to pass over without a thorough and determined prosecution
of those engaged in it, we may look out for frequent scenes of the
same kind, not only here, but in other places. No steps have as yet
been taken by the civil authorities to arrest citizens who were
engaged in this massacre, or policemen who perpetrated such
cruelties. The members of the convention have been indicted by the
grand jury, and many of them arrested and held to bail. As to
whether the civil authorities can mete out ample justice to the
guilty parties on both sides, I must say it is my opinion,
unequivocally, that they cannot. Judge Abell, whose course I have
closely watched for nearly a year, I now consider one of the most
dangerous men that we have here to the peace and quiet of the city.
The leading men of the convention--King, Cutler, Hahn, and others
--have been political agitators, and are bad men. I regret to say that
the course of Governor Wells has been vacillating, and that during the
late trouble he has shown very little of the man.

"Major-General Commanding."

Subsequently a military commission investigated the subject of the
riot, taking a great deal of testimony. The commission substantially
confirmed the conclusions given in my despatches, and still later
there was an investigation by a select committee of the House of
Representatives, of which the Honorables Samuel Shellabarger, of
Ohio, H. L. Elliot, of Massachusetts, and B. M. Boyer, of
Pennsylvania, were the members. The majority report of the committee
also corroborated, in all essentials, my reports of the distressing
occurrence. The committee likewise called attention to a violent
speech made by Mr. Johnson at St. Louis in September, 1866, charging
the origin of the riot to Congress, and went on to say of the speech
that "it was an unwarranted and unjust expression of hostile feeling,
without pretext or foundation in fact." A list of the killed and
wounded was embraced in the committee's report, and among other
conclusions reached were the following: "That the meeting of July 30
was a meeting of quiet citizens, who came together without arms and
with intent peaceably to discuss questions of public concern....
There has been no occasion during our National history when a riot
has occurred so destitute of justifiable cause, resulting in a
massacre so inhuman and fiend-like, as that which took place at New
Orleans on the 30th of July last. This riotous attack upon the
convention, with its terrible results of massacre and murder, was not
an accident. It was the determined purpose of the mayor of the city
of New Orleans to break up this convention by armed force."

The statement is also made, that, "He [the President] knew that
'rebels' and 'thugs' and disloyal men had controlled the election of
Mayor Monroe, and that such men composed chiefly his police force."

The committee held that no legal government existed in Louisiana, and
recommended the temporary establishment of a provisional government
therein; the report concluding that "in the meantime the safety of
all Union men within the State demands that such government be formed
for their protection, for the well being of the nation and the
permanent peace of the Republic."

The New Orleans riot agitated the whole country, and the official and
other reports served to intensify and concentrate the opposition to
President Johnson's policy of reconstruction, a policy resting
exclusively on and inspired solely by the executive authority--for it
was made plain, by his language and his acts, that he was seeking to
rehabilitate the seceded States under conditions differing not a whit
from those existing before the rebellion; that is to say, without the
slightest constitutional provision regarding the status of the
emancipated slaves, and with no assurances of protection for men who
had remained loyal in the war.

In December, 1866, Congress took hold of the subject with such vigor
as to promise relief from all these perplexing disorders, and, after
much investigation and a great deal of debate, there resulted the
so-called "Reconstruction Laws," which, for a clear understanding of
the powers conferred on the military commanders, I deem best to append
in full:

AN ACT to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel

WHEREAS, no legal State governments or adequate protection for life
or property now exist 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; therefore,

BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, 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

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the
President to assign to the command of each of said districts an
officer of the army not below the rank of brigadier-general, and to
detail a sufficient military force to enable such officer to perform
his duties and enforce his authority within the district to which he
is assigned.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of each
officer assigned as aforesaid to protect all persons in their rights
of person and property, to suppress insurrection, disorder, and
violence, and to punish, or cause to be punished, all disturbers of
the public peace and criminals, and to this end he may allow local
civil tribunals to take jurisdiction of and to try offenders, or,
when in his judgment it may be necessary for the trial of offenders,
he shall have power to organize military commissions or tribunals for
that purpose, and all interference, under cover of State authority,
with the exercise of military authority under this act, shall be null
and void.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons put under
military arrest by virtue of this act shall be tried without
unnecessary delay, and no cruel or unjust punishment shall be
inflicted; and no sentence of any military commission or tribunal
hereby authorized affecting the life or liberty of any person, shall
be executed until it is approved by the officer in command of the
district; and the laws and regulations for the government of the army
shall not be affected by this act except in so far as they conflict
with its provisions: Provided, That no sentence of death, under the
provisions of this act, shall be carried into effect without the
approval of the President.

SEC. 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, except such
as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion, or for
felony at common law; and when such constitution shall provide that
the elective franchise shall be enjoyed by all such persons as have
the qualifications herein stated for electors of delegates; and when
such constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the persons
voting on the question of ratification who are qualified as electors
for delegates, and when such constitution shall have been submitted
to Congress for examination and approval, and Congress shall have
approved the same; and when said State, by a vote of its legislature
elected under said constitution, shall have adopted the amendment to
the Constitution of the United States proposed by the Thirty-ninth
Congress, and known as article fourteen; and when said article shall
have become a part of the Constitution of the United States, said
State shall be declared entitled to representation in Congress, and
senators and representatives shall be admitted therefrom on their
taking the oath prescribed by law; and then and thereafter the
preceding sections of this act shall be inoperative in said State:
Provided, That no person excluded from the privilege of holding
office by said proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United
States shall be eligible to election as a member of the convention to
frame a constitution for any of said rebel States, nor shall any such
person vote for members of such convention.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That until the people of said
rebel States shall be by law admitted to representation in the
Congress of the United States, any civil government which may exist
therein shall be deemed provisional only, and in all respects subject
to the paramount authority of the United States at any time to
abolish, modify, control, or supersede the same; and in all elections
to any office under such provisional governments all persons shall be
entitled to vote, and none others, who are entitled to vote under the
fifth section of this act; and no person shall be eligible to any
office under any such provisional governments who would be
disqualified from holding office under the provisions of the third
article of said constitutional amendment.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.

AN ACT supplementary to an act entitled "An act to provide for the
more efficient government of the rebel States," passed March second,
eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, and to facilitate restoration.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That before the first
day of September, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, the commanding
general in each district defined by an act entitled "An act to
provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States,"
passed March second, eighteen hundred and sixty-seven, shall cause a
registration to be made of the male citizens of the United States,
twenty-one years of age and upwards, resident in each county or
parish in the State or States included in his district, which
registration shall include only those persons who are qualified to
vote for delegates by the act aforesaid, and who shall have taken and
subscribed the following oath or affirmation: "I,------, do
solemnly swear (or affirm), in the presence of the Almighty God, that
I am a citizen of the State of ---------; that I have resided in said
State for----- months next preceding this day, and now reside in the
county of -------, or the parish of --------, in said State, (as the
case may be); that I am twenty-one years old; that I have not been
disfranchised for participation in any rebellion or civil war against
the United States, nor for felony committed against the laws of any
State or of the United States; that I have never been a member of any
State Legislature, nor held any executive or judicial office in any
State, and afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against
the United States, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof;
that I have never taken an oath as a member of Congress of the United
States, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any
State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any
State, to support the constitution of the United States, and
afterwards engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United
States or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof; that I will
faithfully support the Constitution and obey the laws of the United
States, and will, to the best of my ability, encourage others so to
do: so help me God."; which oath or affirmation may be administered
by any registering officer.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after the completion of the
registration hereby provided for in any State, at such time and
places therein as the commanding general shall appoint and direct, of
which at least thirty days' public notice shall be given, an election
shall be held of delegates to a convention for the purpose of
establishing a constitution and civil government for such State loyal
to the Union, said convention in each State, except Virginia, to
consist of the same number of members as the most numerous branch of
the State Legislature of such State in the year eighteen hundred and
sixty, to be apportioned among the several districts, counties, or
parishes of such State by the commanding general, giving each
representation in the ratio of voters registered as aforesaid as
nearly as may be. The convention in Virginia shall consist of the
same number of members as represented the territory now constituting
Virginia in the most numerous branch of the Legislature of said State
in the year eighteen hundred and sixty, to be apportioned as

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That at said election the
registered voters of each State shall vote for or against a
convention to form a constitution therefor under this act. Those
voting in favor of such a convention shall have written or printed on
the ballots by which they vote for delegates, as aforesaid, the words
"For a convention," and those voting against such a convention shall
have written or printed on such ballot the words "Against a
convention." The persons appointed to superintend said election, and
to make return of the votes given thereat, as herein provided, shall
count and make return of the votes given for and against a
convention; and the commanding general to whom the same shall have
been returned shall ascertain and declare the total vote in each
State for and against a convention. If a majority of the votes given
on that question shall be for a convention, then such convention
shall be held as hereinafter provided; but if a majority of said
votes shall, be against a convention, then no such convention shall
be held under this act: Provided, That such convention shall not be
held unless a majority of all such registered voters shall have voted
on the question of holding such convention.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the commanding general of
each district shall appoint as many boards of registration as may be
necessary, consisting of three loyal officers or persons, to make and
complete the registration, superintend the election, and make return
to him of the votes, list of voters, and of the persons elected as
delegates by a plurality of the votes cast at said election; and upon
receiving said returns he shall open the same, ascertain the persons
elected as delegates, according to the returns of the officers who
conducted said election, and make proclamation thereof; and if a
majority of the votes given on that question shall be for a
convention, the commanding general, within sixty days from the date
of election, shall notify the delegates to assemble in convention, at
a time and place to be mentioned in the notification, and said
convention, when organized, shall proceed to frame a constitution and
civil government according to the provisions of this act, and the act
to which it is supplementary; and when the same shall have been so
framed, said constitution shall be submitted by the convention for
ratification to the persons registered under the provisions of this
act at an election to be conducted by the officers or persons
appointed or to be appointed by the commanding general, as
hereinbefore provided, and to be held after the expiration of thirty
days from the date of notice thereof, to be given by said convention;
and the returns thereof shall be made to the commanding general of
the district.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That if, according to said
returns, the constitution shall be ratified by a majority of the
votes of the registered electors qualified as herein specified, cast
at said election, at least one-half of all the registered voters
voting upon the question of such ratification, the president of the
convention shall transmit a copy of the same, duly certified, to the
President of the United States, who shall forthwith transmit the same
to Congress, if then in session, and if not in session, then
immediately upon its next assembling; and if it shall moreover appear
to Congress that the election was one at which all the registered and
qualified electors in the State had an opportunity to vote freely,
and without restraint, fear, or the influence of fraud, and if the
Congress shall be satisfied that such constitution meets the approval
of a majority of all the qualified electors in the State, and if the
said constitution shall be declared by Congress to be in conformity
with the provisions of the act to which this is supplementary, and
the other provisions of said act shall have been complied with, and
the said constitution shall be approved by Congress, the State shall
be declared entitled to representation, and senators and
representatives shall be admitted therefrom as therein provided.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That all elections in the States
mentioned in the said "Act to provide for the more efficient
government of the rebel States" shall, during the operation of said
act, be by ballot; and all officers making the said registration of
voters and conducting said elections, shall, before entering upon the
discharge of their duties, take and subscribe the oath prescribed by
the act approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,
entitled "An act to prescribe an oath of office": Provided, That if
any person shall knowingly and falsely take and subscribe any oath in
this act prescribed, such person so offending and being thereof duly
convicted, shall be subject to the pains, penalties, and disabilities
which by law are provided for the punishment of the crime of wilful
and corrupt perjury.

SEC. 7. And be if further enacted, That all expenses incurred by the
several commanding generals, or by virtue of any orders issued, or
appointments made, by them, under or by virtue of this act, shall be
paid out of any moneys in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That the convention for each State
shall prescribe the fees, salary, and compensation to be paid to all
delegates and other officers and agents herein authorized or
necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act not herein
otherwise provided for, and shall provide for the levy and collection
of such taxes on the property in such State as may be necessary to
pay the same.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the word "article," in the
sixth section of the act to which this is supplementary, shall be
construed to mean, "section."

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

President of the Senate pro tempore.



The first of the Reconstruction laws was passed March 2, 1867, and
though vetoed by the President, such was the unanimity of loyal
sentiment and the urgency demanding the measure, that the bill became
a law over the veto the day the President returned it to Congress.
March the 11th this law was published in General Orders No. 10, from
the Headquarters of the Army, the same order assigning certain
officers to take charge of the five military districts into which the
States lately in rebellion were subdivided, I being announced as the
commander of the Fifth Military District, which embraced Louisiana
and Texas, a territory that had formed the main portion of my command
since the close of the war.

Between the date of the Act and that of my assignment, the Louisiana
Legislature, then in special session, had rejected a proposed repeal
of an Act it had previously passed providing for an election of
certain municipal officers in New Orleans. This election was set for
March 11, but the mayor and the chief of police, together with
General Mower, commanding the troops in the city, having expressed to
me personally their fears that the public peace would be disturbed by
the election, I, in this emergency, though not yet assigned to the
district, assuming the authority which the Act conferred on district
commanders, declared that the election should not take place; that no
polls should be opened on the day fixed; and that the whole matter
would stand postponed till the district commander should be
appointed, or special instructions be had. This, my first official
act under the Reconstruction laws, was rendered necessary by the
course of a body of obstructionists, who had already begun to give
unequivocal indications of their intention to ignore the laws of

A copy of the order embodying the Reconstruction law, together with
my assignment, having reached me a few days after, I regularly
assumed control of the Fifth Military District on March 19, by an
order wherein I declared the State and municipal governments of the
district to be provisional only, and, under the provisions of the
sixth section of the Act, subject to be controlled, modified,
superseded, or abolished. I also announced that no removals from
office would be made unless the incumbents failed to carry out the
provisions of the law or impeded reorganization, or unless willful
delays should necessitate a change, and added: "Pending the
reorganization, it is, desirable and intended to create as little
disturbance in the machinery of the various branches of the
provisional governments as possible, consistent with the law of
Congress and its successful execution, but this condition is
dependent upon the disposition shown by the people, and upon the
length of time required for reorganization."

Under these limitations Louisiana and Texas retained their former
designations as military districts, the officers in command
exercising their military powers as heretofore. In addition, these
officers were to carry out in their respective commands all
provisions of the law except those specially requiring the action of
the district commander, and in cases of removals from and appointment
to office.

In the course of legislation the first Reconstruction act, as I have
heretofore noted, had been vetoed. On the very day of the veto,
however, despite the President's adverse action, it passed each House
of Congress by such an overwhelming majority as not only to give it
the effect of law, but to prove clearly that the plan of
reconstruction presented was, beyond question, the policy endorsed by
the people of the country. It was, therefore, my determination to
see to the law's zealous execution in my district, though I felt
certain that the President would endeavor to embarrass me by every
means in his power, not only on account of his pronounced personal
hostility, but also because of his determination not to execute but
to obstruct the measures enacted by Congress.

Having come to this conclusion, I laid down, as a rule for my
guidance, the principle of non-interference with the provisional
State governments, and though many appeals were made to have me
rescind rulings of the courts, or interpose to forestall some
presupposed action to be taken by them, my invariable reply was that
I would not take cognizance of such matters, except in cases of
absolute necessity. The same policy was announced also in reference
to municipal affairs throughout the district, so long as the action
of the local officers did not conflict with the law.

In a very short time, however, I was obliged to interfere in
municipal matters in New Orleans, for it had become clearly apparent
that several of the officials were, both by acts of omission and
commission, ignoring the law, so on the 27th of March I removed from
office the Mayor, John T. Monroe; the Judge of the First District
Court, E. Abell; and the Attorney-General of the State, Andrew S.
Herron; at the same time appointing to the respective offices thus
vacated Edward Heath, W. W. Howe, and B. L. Lynch. The officials
thus removed had taken upon themselves from the start to pronounce
the Reconstruction acts unconstitutional, and to advise such a course
of obstruction that I found it necessary at an early dav to replace
them by men in sympathy with the law, in order to make plain my
determination to have its provisions enforced. The President at once
made inquiry, through General Grant, for the cause of the removal,
and I replied:

"New Orleans, La., April 19, 1867.

"GENERAL: On the 27th day of March last I removed from office Judge
E. Abell, of the Criminal Court of New Orleans; Andrew S. Herron,
Attorney-General of the State of Louisiana; and John T. Monroe, Mayor
of the City of New Orleans. These removals were made under the
powers granted me in what is usually termed the 'military bill,'
passed March 2, 1867, by the Congress of the United States.

"I did not deem it necessary to give any reason for the removal of
these men, especially after the investigations made by the military
board on the massacre Of July 30, 1866, and the report of the
congressional committee on the same massacre; but as some inquiry has
been made for the cause of removal, I would respectfully state as

"The court over which judge Abell presided is the only criminal court
in the city of New Orleans, and for a period of at least nine months
previous to the riot Of July 30 he had been educating a large portion
of the community to the perpetration of this outrage, by almost
promising no prosecution in his court against the offenders, in case
such an event occurred. The records of his court will show that he
fulfilled his promise, as not one of the guilty has been prosecuted.

"In reference to Andrew J. Herron, Attorney-General of the State of
Louisiana, I considered it his duty to indict these men before this
criminal court. This he failed to do, but went so far as to attempt
to impose on the good sense of the whole nation by indicting the
victims of the riot instead of the rioters; in other words, making
the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. He was therefore, in my
belief, an able coadjutor with judge Abell in bringing on the
massacre of July 30.

"Mayor Monroe controlled the element engaged in this riot, and when
backed by an attorney-general who would not prosecute the guilty, and
a judge who advised the grand jury to find the innocent guilty and
let the murderers go free, felt secure in engaging his police force
in the riot and massacre.

"With these three men exercising a large influence over the worst
elements of the population of this city, giving to those elements an
immunity for riot and bloodshed, the general-in-chief will see how
insecurely I felt in letting them occupy their respective positions
in the troubles which might occur in registration and voting in the
reorganization of this State.

"I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"Major-General U. S. A.

"Commanding Armies of the United States,
"Washington, D. C."

To General Grant my reasons were satisfactory, but not so to the
President, who took no steps, however, to rescind my action, for he
knew that the removals were commended by well-nigh the entire
community in the city, for it will be understood that Mr. Johnson
was, through his friends and adherents in Louisiana and Texas, kept
constantly advised of every step taken by me. Many of these persons
were active and open opponents of mine, while others were spies,
doing their work so secretly and quickly that sometimes Mr. Johnson
knew of my official acts before I could report them to General Grant.

The supplemental Reconstruction act which defined the method of
reconstruction became a law despite the President's veto on March 23.
This was a curative act, authorizing elections and prescribing
methods of registration. When it reached me officially I began
measures for carrying out its provisions, and on the 28th of March
issued an order to the effect that no elections for the State,
parish, or municipal officers would be held in Louisiana until the
provisions of the laws of Congress entitled "An act to provide for
the more efficient government of the rebel States," and of the act
supplemental thereto, should have been complied with. I also
announced that until elections were held in accordance with these
acts, the law of the Legislature of the State providing for the
holding over of those persons whose terms of office otherwise would
have expired, would govern in all cases excepting only those special
ones in which I myself might take action. There was one parish,
Livingston, which this order did no reach in time to prevent the
election previously ordered there, and which therefore took place,
but by a supplemental order this election was declare null and void.

In April. I began the work of administering the Supplemental Law,
which, under certain condition of eligibility, required a
registration of the voter of the State, for the purpose of electing
delegate to a Constitutional convention. It therefore became
necessary to appoint Boards of Registration throughout the election
districts, and on April 10 the boards for the Parish of Orleans were
given out, those for the other parishes being appointed ten days
later. Before announcing these boards, I had asked to be advised
definitely as to what persons were disfranchised by the law, and was
directed by General Grant to act upon my own interpretation of it,
pending an opinion expected shortly from the Attorney-General--Mr.
Henry Stanbery--so, for the guidance of the boards, I gave the
following instructions:

"New Orleans, La., April 10, 1867.

"Special Orders, No. 15.

"....In obedience to the directions contained in the first section of
the Law of Congress entitled "An Act supplemental to an Act entitled
'An Act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel
States'" the registration of the legal voters, according to that law
in the Parish of Orleans, will be commenced on the 15th instant, and
must be completed by the 15th of May.

"The four municipal districts of the City of New Orleans and the
Parish of Orleans, right bank (Algiers), will each constitute a
Registration district. Election precincts will remain as at present

"....Each member of the Board of Registers, before commencing his
duties, will file in the office of the Assistant-Inspector-General at
these headquarters, the oath required in the sixth section of the Act
referred to, and be governed in the execution of his duty by the
provisions of the first section of that Act, faithfully administering
the oath therein prescribed to each person registered.

"Boards of Registers will immediately select suitable offices within
their respective districts, having reference to convenience and
facility of registration, and will enter upon their duties on the day
designated. Each Board will be entitled to two clerks. Office-hours
for registration will be from 8 o'clock till 12 A. M., and from 4
till 7 P. M.

"When elections are ordered, the Board of Registers for each district
will designate the number of polls and the places where they shall be
opened in the election precincts within its district, appoint the
commissioners and other officers necessary for properly conducting
the elections, and will superintend the same.

"They will also receive from the commissioners of elections of the
different precincts the result of the vote, consolidate the same, and
forward it to the commanding general.

"Registers and all officers connected with elections will be held to
a rigid accountability and will be subject to trial by military
commission for fraud, or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties. Their rate of compensation and manner
of payment will be in accordance with the provisions of sections six
and seven of the supplemental act.

"....Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old
and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who has
been resident in the State of Louisiana for one year and Parish of
Orleans for three months previous to the date at which he presents
himself for registration, and who has not been disfranchised by act
of Congress or for felony at common law, shall, after having taken
and subscribed the oath prescribed in the first section of the act
herein referred to, be entitled to be, and shall be, registered as a
legal voter in the Parish of Orleans and State of Louisiana.

"Pending the decision of the Attorney-General of the United States on
the question as to who are disfranchised by law, registers will give
the most rigid interpretation to the law, and exclude from
registration every person about whose right to vote there may be a
doubt. Any person so excluded who may, under the decision of the
Attorney-General, be entitled to vote, shall be permitted to register
after that decision is received, due notice of which will be given.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN,

"Assistant Adjutant-General."

The parish Boards of Registration were composed of three members
each. Ability to take what was known as the "ironclad oath" was the
qualification exacted of the members, and they were prohibited from
becoming candidates for office. In the execution of their duties
they were to be governed by the provisions of the supplemental act.
It was also made one of their functions to designate the number and
location of the polling-places in the several districts, to appoint
commissioners for receiving the votes and in general to attend to
such other matters as were necessary, in order properly to conduct
the voting, and afterward to receive from the commissioners the
result of the vote and forward it to my headquarters. These
registers, and all other officers having to do with elections, were
to be held to a rigid accountability, and be subject to trial by
military commission for fraud or unlawful or improper conduct in the
performance of their duties; and in order to be certain that the
Registration Boards performed their work faithfully and
intelligently, officers of the army were appointed as supervisors.
To this end the parishes were grouped together conveniently in
temporary districts, each officer having from three to five parishes
to supervise. The programme thus mapped out for carrying out the law
in Louisiana was likewise adhered to in Texas, and indeed was
followed as a model in some of the other military districts.

Although Military Commissions were fully authorized by the
Reconstruction acts, yet I did not favor their use in governing the
district, and probably would never have convened one had these acts
been observed in good faith. I much preferred that the civil courts,
and the State and municipal authorities already in existence, should
perform their functions without military control or interference, but
occasionally, because the civil authorities neglected their duty, I
was obliged to resort to this means to ensure the punishment Of
offenders. At this time the condition of the negroes in Texas and
Louisiana was lamentable, though, in fact, not worse than that of the
few white loyalists who had been true to the Union during the war.
These last were singled out as special objects of attack, and were,
therefore, obliged at all times to be on the alert for the protection
of their lives and property. This was the natural outcome of Mr.
Johnson's defiance of Congress, coupled with the sudden conversion to
his cause of persons in the North--who but a short time before had
been his bitterest enemies; for all this had aroused among the
disaffected element new hopes of power and place, hopes of being at
once put in political control again, with a resumption of their
functions in State and National matters without any preliminary
authorization by Congress. In fact, it was not only hoped, but
expected, that things were presently to go on just as if there had
been no war.

In the State of Texas there were in 1865 about 200,000 of the colored
race-roughly, a third of the entire population--while in Louisiana
there were not less than 350,000, or more than one-half of all the
people in the State. Until the enactment of the Reconstruction laws
these negroes were without rights, and though they had been liberated
by the war, Mr. Johnson's policy now proposed that they should have
no political status at all, and consequently be at the mercy of a
people who, recently their masters, now seemed to look upon them as
the authors of all the misfortunes that had come upon the land.
Under these circumstances the blacks naturally turned for protection
to those who had been the means of their liberation, and it would
have been little less than inhuman to deny them sympathy. Their
freedom had been given them, and it was the plain duty of those in
authority to make it secure, and screen them from the bitter
political resentment that beset them, and to see that they had a fair
chance in the battle of life. Therefore, when outrages and murders
grew frequent, and the aid of the 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 Mr. Johnson had

The first, Military Commission was convened to try the case of John
W. Walker, charged with shooting a negro in the parish of St. John.
The proper civil authorities had made no effort to arrest Walker, and
even connived at his escape, so I had him taken into custody in New
Orleans, and ordered him tried, the commission finding him guilty,
and sentencing him to confinement in the penitentiary for six months.
This shooting was the third occurrence of the kind that had taken
place in St. John's parish, a negro being wounded in each case, and
it was plain that the intention was to institute there a practice of
intimidation which should be effective to subject the freedmen to the
will of their late masters, whether in making labor contracts, or in
case these newly enfranchised negroes should evince a disposition to
avail themselves of the privilege to vote.

The trial and conviction of Walker, and of one or two others for
similar outrages, soon put a stop to every kind of "bull-dozing" in
the country parishes; but about this time I discovered that many
members of the police force in New Orleans were covertly intimidating
the freedmen there, and preventing their appearance at the
registration offices, using milder methods than had obtained in the
country, it is true, but none the less effective.

Early in 1866 the Legislature had passed an act which created for the
police of New Orleans a residence qualification, the object of which
was to discharge and exclude from the force ex-Union soldiers. This
of course would make room for the appointment of ex-Confederates, and
Mayor Monroe had not been slow in enforcing the provisions of the
law. It was, in fact, a result of this enactment that the police was
so reorganized as to become the willing and efficient tool which it
proved to be in the riot of 1866; and having still the same
personnel, it was now in shape to prevent registration by threats,
unwarranted arrests, and by various other influences, all operating
to keep the timid blacks away from the registration places.

That the police were taking a hand in this practice of repression, I
first discovered by the conduct of the assistant to the chief of the
body, and at once removed the offender, but finding this ineffectual
I annulled that part of the State law fixing the five years'
residence restriction, and restored the two years' qualification,
thus enabling Mayor Heath, who by my appointment had succeeded
Monroe, to organize the force anew, and take about one-half of its
members from ex-Union soldiers who when discharged had settled in New
Orleans. This action put an end to intimidation in the parish of
Orleans; and now were put in operation in all sections the processes
provided by the supplemental Reconstruction law for the summoning of
a convention to form a Constitution preparatory to the readmission of
the State, and I was full of hope that there would now be much less
difficulty in administering the trust imposed by Congress.

During the two years previous great damage had been done the
agricultural interests of Louisiana by the overflow of the
Mississippi, the levees being so badly broken as to require extensive
repairs, and the Legislature of 1866 had appropriated for the purpose
$4,000,000, to be raised by an issue of bonds. This money was to be
disbursed by a Board of Levee Commissioners then in existence, but
the term of service of these commissioners, and the law creating the
board, would expire in the spring of 1867. In order to overcome this
difficulty the Legislature passed a bill continuing the commissioners
in office but as the act was passed inside of ten days before the
adjournment of the Legislature, Governor Wells pocketed the bill, and
it failed to become a law. The Governor then appointed a board of
his own, without any warrant of law whatever. The old commissioners
refused to recognize this new board, and of course a conflict of
authority ensued, which, it was clear, would lead to vicious results
if allowed to continue; so, as the people of the State had no
confidence in either of the boards, I decided to end the contention
summarily by appointing an entirely new commission, which would
disburse the money honestly, and further the real purpose for which
it had been appropriated. When I took this course the legislative
board acquiesced, but Governor Wells immediately requested the
President to revoke my order, which, however, was not done, but
meanwhile the Secretary of War directed me to suspend all proceedings
in the matter, and make a report of the facts. I complied in the
following telegram:

"NEW ORLEANS, La., June 3, 1867.

"SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of
this date in reference to the Levee Commissioners in this State.

"The following were my reasons for abolishing the two former boards,
although I intended that my order should be sufficiently explanatory:

"Previous to the adjournment of the Legislature last winter it passed
an act continuing the old Levee board in office, so that the four
millions of dollars ($4,000,000) in bonds appropriated by the
Legislature might be disbursed by a board of rebellious antecedents.

"After its adjournment the Governor of the State appointed a board of
his own, in violation of this act, and made the acknowledgment to me
in person that his object was to disburse the money in the interest
of his own party by securing for it the vote of the employees at the
time of election.

"The board continued in office by the Legislature refused to turn
over to the Governor's board, and each side appealed to me to sustain
it, which I would not do. The question must then have gone to the
courts, which, according to the Governor's judgment when he was
appealing to me to be sustained, would require one year for decision.
Meantime the State was overflowed, the Levee boards tied up by
political chicanery, and nothing done to relieve the poor people, now
fed by the charity of the Government and charitable associations of
the North.

"To obviate this trouble, and to secure to the overflowed districts
of the State the immediate relief which the honest disbursement of
the four millions ($4,000,000) would give, my order dissolving both
boards was issued.

"I say now, unequivocally, that Governor Wells is a political
trickster and a dishonest man. I have seen him myself, when I first
came to this command, turn out all the Union men who had supported
the Government, and put in their stead rebel soldiers who had not yet
doffed their gray uniform. I have seen him again, during the July
riot of 1866, skulk away where I could not find him to give him a
guard, instead of coming out as a manly representative of the State
and joining those who were preserving the peace. I have watched him
since, and his conduct has been as sinuous as the mark left in the
dust by the movement of a snake.

"I say again that he is dishonest, and that dishonesty is more than
must be expected of me.

"Major-General, U. S. A.

"Hon. E. M. STANTON,
"Secretary of War, Washington, D. C."

The same day that I sent my report to the Secretary of War I removed
from office Governor Wells himself, being determined to bear no
longer with the many obstructions he had placed in the way of
reorganizing the civil affairs of the State. I was also satisfied
that he was unfit to retain the place, since he was availing himself
of every opportunity to work political ends beneficial to himself.
In this instance Wells protested to me against his removal, and also
appealed to the President for an opinion of the Attorney-General as
to my power in the case; and doubtless he would have succeeded in
retaining his office, but for the fact that the President had been
informed by General James B. Steadman and others placed to watch me
that Wells was wholly unworthy.

"NEW ORLEANS, June 19, 1867.
"ANDREW JOHNSON, President United States,
"Washington City:

"Lewis D. Campbell leaves New Orleans for home this evening. Want
of respect for Governor Wells personally, alone represses the
expression of indignation felt by all honest and sensible men at the
unwarranted usurpation of General Sheridan in removing the civil
officers of Louisiana. It is believed here that you will reinstate
Wells. He is a bad man, and has no influence.

"I believe Sheridan made the removals to embarrass you, believing the
feeling at the North would sustain him. My conviction is that on
account of the bad character of Wells and Monroe, you ought not to
reinstate any who have been removed, because you cannot reinstate any
without reinstating all, but you ought to prohibit the exercise of
this power in the future.

"Respectfully yours,


I appointed Mr. Thomas J. Durant as Wells's successor, but he
declining, I then appointed Mr. Benjamin F. Flanders, who, after I
had sent a staff-officer to forcibly eject Wells in case of
necessity, took possession of the Governor's office. Wells having
vacated, Governor Flanders began immediately the exercise of his
duties in sympathy with the views of Congress, and I then notified
General Grant that I thought he need have no further apprehension
about the condition of affairs in Louisiana, as my appointee was a
man of such integrity and ability that I already felt relieved of
half my labor. I also stated in the same despatch that nothing would
answer in Louisiana but a bold and firm course, and that in taking
such a one I felt that I was strongly supported; a statement that was
then correct, for up to this period the better classes were disposed
to accept the Congressional plan of reconstruction.

During the controversy over the Levee Commissioners, and the
correspondence regarding the removal of Governor Wells, registration
had gone on under the rules laid down for the boards. The date set
for closing the books was the 3oth of June, but in the parish of
Orleans the time was extended till the 15th of July. This the
President considered too short a period, and therefore directed the
registry lists not to be closed before the 1st of August, unless
there was some good reason to the contrary. This was plainly
designed to keep the books open in order that under the
Attorney-General's interpretation of the Reconstruction laws, published
June 20, many persons who had been excluded by the registration boards
could yet be registered, so I decided to close the registration, unless
required by the President unconditionally, and in specific orders, to
extend the time. My motives were manifold, but the main reasons were
that as two and a half months had been given already, the number of
persons who, under the law, were qualified for registry was about
exhausted; and because of the expense I did not feel warranted in
keeping up the boards longer, as I said, "to suit new issues coming in
at the eleventh hour," which would but open a "broad macadamized road
for perjury and fraud."

When I thus stated what I intended to do, the opinion of the
Attorney-General had not yet been received. When it did reach me it
was merely in the form of a circular signed by Adjutant-General
Townsend, and had no force of law. It was not even sent as an order,
nor was it accompanied by any instructions, or by anything except the
statement that it was transmitted to the 11 respective military
commanders for their information, in order that there might be
uniformity in the execution of the Reconstruction acts. To adopt
Mr. Stanbery's interpretation of the law and reopen registration
accordingly, would defeat the purpose of Congress, as well as add to
my perplexities. Such a course would also require that the officers
appointed by me for the performance of specified duties, under laws
which I was empowered to interpret and enforce, should receive their
guidance and instructions from an unauthorized source, so on
communicating with General Grant as to how I should act, he directed
me to enforce my own construction of the military bill until ordered
to do otherwise.

Therefore the registration continued as I had originally directed,
and nothing having been definitely settled at Washington in relation
to my extending the time, on the 10th of July I ordered all the
registration boards to select, immediately, suitable persons to act
as commissioners of election, and at the same time specified the
number of each set of commissioners, designated the polling-places,
gave notice that two days would be allowed for voting, and followed
this with an order discontinuing registration the 31st of July, and
then another appointing the 27th and 28th of September as the time
for the election of delegates to the State convention.

In accomplishing the registration there had been little opposition
from the mass of the people, but the press of New Orleans, and the
office-holders and office-seekers in the State generally, antagonized
the work bitterly and violently, particularly after the promulgation
of the opinion of the Attorney-General. These agitators condemned
everybody and everything connected with the Congressional plan of
reconstruction; and the pernicious influence thus exerted was
manifested in various ways, but most notably in the selection of
persons to compose the jury lists in the country parishes it also
tempted certain municipal officers in New Orleans to perform illegal
acts that would seriously have affected the credit of the city had
matters not been promptly corrected by the summary removal from
office of the comptroller and the treasurer, who had already issued a
quarter of a million dollars in illegal certificates. On learning of
this unwarranted and unlawful proceeding, Mayor Heath demanded an
investigation by the Common Council, but this body, taking its cue
from the evident intention of the President to render abortive the
Reconstruction acts, refused the mayor's demand. Then he tried to
have the treasurer and comptroller restrained by injunction, but the
city attorney, under the same inspiration as the council, declined to
sue out a writ, and the attorney being supported in this course by
nearly all the other officials, the mayor was left helpless in his
endeavors to preserve the city's credit. Under such circumstances he
took the only step left him--recourse to the military commander; and
after looking into the matter carefully I decided, in the early part
of August, to give the mayor officials who would not refuse to make
an investigation of the illegal issue of certificates, and to this
end I removed the treasurer, surveyor, comptroller, city attorney,
and twenty-two of the aldermen; these officials, and all of their
assistants, having reduced the financial credit of New Orleans to a
disordered condition, and also having made efforts--and being then
engaged in such--to hamper the execution of the Reconstruction laws.

This action settled matters in the city, but subsequently I had to
remove some officials in the parishes--among them a justice of the
peace and a sheriff in the parish of Rapides; the justice for
refusing to permit negro witnesses to testify in a certain murder
case, and for allowing the murderer, who had foully killed a colored
man, to walk out of his court on bail in the insignificant sum of
five hundred dollars; and the sheriff, for conniving at the escape
from jail of another alleged murderer. Finding, however, even after
these removals, that in the country districts murderers and other
criminals went unpunished, provided the offenses were against negroes
merely (since the jurors were selected exclusively from the whites,
and often embraced those excluded from the exercise of the election
franchise) I, having full authority under the Reconstruction laws,
directed such a revision of the jury lists as would reject from them
every man not eligible for registration as a voter. This order was
issued August 24, and on its promulgation the President relieved me
from duty and assigned General Hancock as my successor.

"NEW ORLEANS, LA., August 24, 1867.


"The registration of voters of the State of Louisiana, according to
the law of Congress, being complete, it is hereby ordered that no
person who is not registered in accordance with said law shall be
considered as, a duly qualified voter of the State of Louisiana. All
persons duly registered as above, and no others, are consequently
eligible, under the laws of the State of Louisiana, to serve as
jurors in any of the courts of the State.

"The necessary revision of the jury lists will immediately be made by
the proper officers.

"All the laws of the State respecting exemptions, etc., from jury
duty will remain in force.

"By command of Major-General P. H. SHERIDAN.

"GEO. L. HARTNUFF, Asst. Adj't-General."

Pending the arrival of General Hancock, I turned over the command of
the district September 1 to General Charles Griffin; but he dying of
yellow fever, General J. A. Mower succeeded him, and retained command
till November 29, on which date General Hancock assumed control.
Immediately after Hancock took charge, he revoked my order of August
24 providing for a revision of the jury lists; and, in short,
President Johnson's policy now became supreme, till Hancock himself
was relieved in March, 1868.

My official connection with the reconstruction of Louisiana and Texas
practically closed with this order concerning the jury lists. In my
judgment this had become a necessity, for the disaffected element,
sustained as it was by the open sympathy of the President, had grown
so determined in its opposition to the execution of the
Reconstruction acts that I resolved to remove from place and power
all obstacles; for the summer's experience had convinced me that in
no other way could the law be faithfully administered.

The President had long been dissatisfied with my course; indeed, he
had harbored personal enmity against me ever since he perceived that
he could not bend me to an acceptance of the false position in which
he had tried to place me by garbling my report of the riot of 1866.
When Mr. Johnson decided to remove me, General Grant protested in
these terms, but to no purpose:

"WASHINGTON, D. C., August 17, 1867

"SIR: I am in receipt of your order of this date directing the
assignment of General G. H. Thomas to the command of the Fifth
Military District, General Sheridan to the Department of the
Missouri, and General Hancock to the Department of the Cumberland;
also your note of this date (enclosing these instructions), saying:
'Before you issue instructions to carry into effect the enclosed
order, I would be pleased to hear any suggestions you may deem
necessary respecting the assignments to which the order refers.'

"I am pleased to avail myself of this invitation to urge--earnestly
urge--urge in the name of a patriotic people, who have sacrificed
hundreds of thousands of loyal lives and thousands of millions of
treasure to preserve the integrity and union of this country--that
this order be not insisted on. It is unmistakably the expressed wish
of the country that General Sheridan should not be removed from his
present command.

"This is a republic where the will of the people is the law of the
land. I beg that their voice may be heard.

"General Sheridan has performed his civil duties faithfully and
intelligently. His removal will only be regarded as an effort to
defeat the laws of Congress. It will be interpreted by the
unreconstructed element in the South--those who did all they could to
break up this Government by arms, and now wish to be the only element
consulted as to the method of restoring order--as a triumph. It will
embolden them to renewed opposition to the will of the loyal masses,
believing that they have the Executive with them.

"The services of General Thomas in battling for the Union entitle him
to some consideration. He has repeatedly entered his protest against
being assigned to either of the five military districts, and
especially to being assigned to relieve General Sheridan.

"There are military reasons, pecuniary reasons, and above all,
patriotic reasons, why this should not be insisted upon.

"I beg to refer to a letter marked 'private,' which I wrote to the
President when first consulted on the subject of the change in the
War Department. It bears upon the subject of this removal, and I had
hoped would have prevented it.

"I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

"General U. S. A., Secretary of War ad interim.

"His Excellency A. JOHNSON,
"President of the United States."

I was ordered to command the Department of the Missouri (General
Hancock, as already noted, finally becoming my successor in the Fifth
Military District), and left New Orleans on the 5th of September. I
was not loath to go. The kind of duty I had been performing in
Louisiana and Texas was very trying under the most favorable
circumstances, but all the more so in my case, since I had to contend
against the obstructions which the President placed in the way from
persistent opposition to the acts of Congress as well as from
antipathy to me--which obstructions he interposed with all the
boldness and aggressiveness of his peculiar nature.

On more than one occasion while I was exercising this command,
impurity of motive was imputed to me, but it has never been
truthfully shown (nor can it ever be) that political or corrupt
influences of any kind controlled me in any instance. I simply tried
to carry out, without fear or favor, the Reconstruction acts as they
came to me. They were intended to disfranchise certain persons, and
to enfranchise certain others, and, till decided otherwise, were the
laws of the land; and it was my duty to execute them faithfully,
without regard, on the one hand, for those upon whom it was thought
they bore so heavily, nor, on the other, for this or that political
party, and certainly without deference to those persons sent to
Louisiana to influence my conduct of affairs.

Some of these missionaries were high officials, both military and
civil, and I recall among others a visit made me in 1866 by a
distinguished friend of the President, Mr. Thomas A. Hendricks. The
purpose of his coming was to convey to me assurances of the very high
esteem in which I was held by the President, and to explain
personally Mr. Johnson's plan of reconstruction, its flawless
constitutionality, and so on. But being on the ground, I had before
me the exhibition of its practical working, saw the oppression and
excesses growing out of it, and in the face of these experiences even
Mr. Hendricks's persuasive eloquence was powerless to convince me of
its beneficence. Later General Lovell H. Rousseau came down on a
like mission, but was no more successful than Mr. Hendricks.

During the whole period that I commanded in Louisiana and Texas my
position was a most unenviable one. The service was unusual, and the
nature of it scarcely to be understood by those not entirely familiar
with the conditions existing immediately after the war. In
administering the affairs of those States, I never acted except by
authority, and always from conscientious motives. I tried to guard
the rights of everybody in accordance with the law. In this I was
supported by General Grant and opposed by President Johnson. The
former had at heart, above every other consideration, the good of his
country, and always sustained me with approval and kind suggestions.
The course pursued by the President was exactly the opposite, and
seems to prove that in the whole matter of reconstruction he was
governed less by patriotic motives than by personal ambitions. Add
to this his natural obstinacy of character and personal enmity toward
me, and no surprise should be occasioned when I say that I heartily
welcomed the order that lifted from me my unsought burden.


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