BECK index

US Reconstruction & Johnson 1865-66

by Sanderson Beck

From Civil War to Reconstruction in 1865
Andrew Johnson to 1865
Johnson & US Reconstruction April-July 1865
Johnson & Reconstruction August-December 1865
Johnson & Reconstruction January-May 1866
Johnson & Reconstruction June-December 1866
United States & Red Cloud’s War 1865-66

From Civil War to Reconstruction in 1865

      The United States Civil War had become a war for the emancipation of slaves, and the Union’s military victory in April 1865 helped accomplish that goal. Many free blacks and liberated slaves fought for the Union Army, and by doing so they prepared the way for their being accepted as citizens. At the end of the war 178,985 blacks were in the Union Army including 7,122 officers.
      The Republican Congressman James Garfield in 1868 suggested that April 1861 was the beginning of an industrial revolution in the United States caused by the political and military revolution.
      By the end of the Civil War in 1865 the military budget of the United States had increased to more than $1 billion with 53,000 employees in the federal bureaucracy. Union veterans and their dependents were given generous pensions. The Confederate government went bankrupt, and Confederate money became worthless after the war.
      In 1865 Illinois repealed its law barring blacks; Ohio revoked its remaining black laws; and Massachusetts in May approved an inclusive public accommodations law. Lincoln had supported free labor, and the Republican Party adopted that policy. The northern war economy had enriched industrialists and bondholders while workers got minimal raises in pay that were more than overcome by the high inflation.
      The border slave states that remained in the Union had many fewer slaves than those which seceded. The number of slaves in Delaware and Maryland was declining, but in Kentucky and Missouri slavery was increasing. At the end of the war Kentucky had over 65,000 black slaves, and they would not be freed until the 13th amendment was ratified in December. Maryland had about 87,000 slaves and nearly as many free blacks. Free labor was expanding in growing regions.
      At a constitutional convention in January 1865 Missourians, like West Virginia and Maryland, backed state-supported schools and abolished imprisonment for debt. Test oaths blocked rebels from voting, holding offices, or even being teachers, lawyers, or ministers. Voters approved Missouri’s new constitution in June 1865. By then the border states had 23 Republican Congressman.
      Reconstruction policy was unresolved when the US Congress adjourned in March 1865. The American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission sent Samuel Gridley Howe, James McKaye, and Robert Dale Owen to the occupied South to learn about ways to emancipate slaves. They recommended civil and political equality and what became the Freedmen’s Bureau on 3 March 1865. The goal was to help blacks become self-reliant as soon as possible. The law authorized

that the Secretary of War may direct such issues
of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem
needful for the immediate and temporary shelter
and supply of destitute and suffering refugees
and freemen and their wives and children,
under such rules and regulations as he may direct.1

      Republican Rep. George Julian of Indiana was the chairman of the House Public Lands Committee, and he believed that the South needed land reform by radical democracy. McKaye agreed that the planters’ land should be confiscated and redistributed to achieve social reconstruction in the South. The Freedmen’s Bureau was limited to one year and had no budget, thus making it dependent on the War Department. After Senator Charles Sumner tried and failed to get the Bureau made a permanent agency, the Congress included southern white refugees in addition to the freedmen. It became the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, and they were authorized to divide the confiscated land into 40-acre plots to be rented by freedmen and loyal refugees and to be sold eventually.
      General William Tecumseh Sherman had issued Special Field Order No. 15 on 16 January 1865 making the Sea Islands between Charleston and Port Royal and to the adjacent rice coast in South Carolina up to thirty miles inland for the exclusive use of the Negroes who were following his army. He decreed that each family would get forty acres, and the army would loan them mules. General Rufus Saxton, who was an abolitionist from Massachusetts, divided 485,000 acres among 40,000 blacks. The titles they were given were not permanent as the government eventually drove them off the land. Saxton and his staff at the Charleston Freedmen’s Bureau ignored President Andrew Johnson’s desire to return the land. The US Congress managed to help some blacks keep their land before Johnson removed Saxton and his staff. Johnson then ordered that the land be returned to former owners who had taken the loyalty oath.
      The Baptist minister Ulysses Houston led 1,000 blacks to Skiddaway Island, Georgia, and they elected him their governor. By June there were about 40,000 freedmen living on 400,000 acres. As the war was ending, some blacks attacked and occupied plantations in South Carolina which Sherman’s army was punishing for having been the first state to secede.
      The United States House of Representatives on 31 January 1865 had voted 119-36 to approve the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution that abolished slavery, but it would not be ratified by enough states to go into effect until December 18.

      Despite the efforts to begin reconstruction during the war the governments established in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana did not have enough support for the US Congress to recognize them. On April 11 in his last speech, in which Lincoln defended his policy in Louisiana, he said that he would prefer conferring suffrage on very intelligent blacks and those who had served the cause as soldiers. At a cabinet meeting on April 14 War Secretary Stanton proposed military governors for Virginia and North Carolina, and Lincoln asked him to revise his plan. On the last day of his life Lincoln was hoping to work out reconstruction while the Congress was not in session, and he wanted to avoid harsh punishments and provide a merciful policy. At the end of the Civil War there were no working governments in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas.

Andrew Johnson to 1865

      Andrew Johnson was born in a humble log house on 29 December 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He never went to school and became an apprentice to a tailor when he was ten years old until he ran away with his older brother William in June 1824. In May 1827 in Tennessee he married Eliza McCardle, and they would have five children. Andrew had learned how to read, and Eliza taught him writing and arithmetic. She read to him while he worked in his tailor shop which became a discussion group during the controversial Presidential election of 1828. Johnson became a good speaker and gained many friends. He studied British politicians and was a follower of Charles James Fox.
      Johnson was elected the Greeneville alderman in 1829, and he was re-elected every year. He was also mayor in 1834. He joined the Tennessee militia and became a colonel. He admired Andrew Jackson, and Johnson was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835 and sold his successful tailor business. He became a landowner and invested in railroad companies. He opposed the state borrowing $4 million for roads and warned it could be a fraud. He lost the election in 1837; but after public works were abandoned because of the corruption, he was elected again in 1839. He campaigned for the Democrat Van Buren in 1840. In 1841 Johnson was elected to the state senate by 2,000 votes. He proposed basing representation on white voters in order to reduce the power of slave-holders. Johnson purchased two slaves in 1843, and Dolly had three children. He treated them as servants and family, and he never sold any of them. He also bought Henry in 1857, and he freed all his slaves in August 1863. Henry became a commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
      Andrew Johnson was elected to the US Congress in 1843, and he was re-elected four times and served ten years. He was a Protestant but defended the right of Roman Catholics to religious freedom. He had studied the Constitution and the Federalist Papers of Madison and Hamilton. Johnson supported the Tennessee Democrat James Polk, the annexation of Texas, and the Mexican War. He hoped that blacks could gain freedom in Texas. He began supporting the Homestead bill in 1846. When leaving Washington in 1853, Johnson was given a $768 check for back pay; he calculated the days he had not worked and gave back $216.
      Democrats in Tennessee nominated Johnson for governor, and he won and began his term in October 1853. Noting that Tennessee was last in education, he approved taxes to improve the schools, equal pay for male and female teachers, and better teacher standards. He sponsored an amendment to elect the President and Vice President by popular vote. He supported Senator Stephen Douglas and the Kansas-Nebraska bill. Although his audiences included men with weapons, in spite of death threats he refused to have a bodyguard. Johnson was re-elected governor in 1855, and in October 1857 he was elected to the US Senate. He defended working people by asking who built the capitol, the railroad, and ships. He preferred that mechanics and laborers make laws rather than “idle and vicious aristocrats.” In Washington he helped pass the Homestead Act, but it was vetoed by President Buchanan.
      During the Democrats’ second convention at Baltimore in June 1860 Tennessee gave their 12 votes for President to Johnson 36 times. Then he and others withdrew, and Stephen Douglas was nominated. On December 19 Johnson made a speech arguing against secession, and in a speech on 6 February 1861 he compared the abolitionists to the secessionists as disunionists. He also said,

If such a man as Andrew Jackson
were President of the United States at the present time,
before this moment, steps would have been taken
which would have preserved us as a united people
without the shedding of blood, without making war.2

Johnson spoke again on March 2 and asked whether those who seceded were committing treason, and he called traitors those who were taking forts, arsenals, and customshouses. Those in the galleries jeered Senator Thomas Clingman of North Carolina, and they cheered for Andy Johnson. The New York Times called Johnson “the greatest man of the age.” A southern Senator had defended the Union and criticized secessionists, and he got hundreds of encouraging letters.
      Johnson campaigned for the Union in East Tennessee in May, and most in that region remained loyal; but in Nashville secessionists wanted Johnson jailed or shot. Warned he would be assassinated, Johnson left Greeneville on June 12 and went to Washington for the Congressional session in which he was the only Senator from a seceded state. He agreed with President Lincoln that it was a people’s contest. On July 27 Johnson gave a persuasive speech which the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said “did more to strengthen and arouse the war passions of the people at the North than everything else combined.”3 Johnson declared that the war was against “traitors and rebels.” He urged Lincoln to give aid to Unionists in East Tennessee, and the President ordered some weapons sent; but by August the Confederate forces had taken over East Tennessee and burned farms and homes. Some fled to Camp Robinson in Kentucky, and Johnson visited them there. Lincoln ordered action in East Tennessee in October.
      Johnson became a member of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of War in December, and they called for more aggressive fighting and criticized timid generals especially McClellan. Johnson was the only Democrat, but he was as fierce as the radical Republicans. Union General Don Carlos Buell wanted to attack Nashville, and in January 1862 Johnson telegraphed that Confederates dominated East Tennessee. General Ulysses Grant’s forces won Union victories in west Tennessee in February. On January 23 Lincoln appointed Johnson a Brigadier General and Military Governor of Tennessee, and the US Congress confirmed him on March 4. Johnson reached Nashville on the 14th, and he learned that Confederates had taken the state records to Memphis and had confiscated his property in Greeneville. He could control only the Nashville area and had nearly 200 homes destroyed to make fortifications using slaves of rebel owners who were forced to provide food and tools. He required a strict oath of federal allegiance. When Mayor Cheatham and city officials refused to take it on March 25, Johnson had them arrested and replaced with others who took the oath. He was supported by his former political rival Parson William G. Brownlow. Johnson closed down newspapers that opposed the Union and arrested ministers who gave sermons against the Union.
      As military governor Johnson advised the US House of Representatives to impeach the District Judge West Humphreys who had resigned and become a judge for the Confederacy, and the House impeached Humphreys on May 19. John Bingham led the prosecution for the House, and on June 26 the US Senate convicted the absent judge of all charges except the one on confiscating Johnson’s property.
      General Buell and his army left Nashville in the spring. On June 17 Johnson had five ministers arrested and charged with treason for favoring the Confederacy and refusing to take his oath. That summer Nathan Forrest’s Confederate cavalry surrounded the city. Refugees came from the area, and Johnson ordered relief for them. He prepared to defend the city, and he made slave-owners provide a thousand slaves and tools for defenses. He closed saloons, newspapers, and rebel publishing companies, and he seized all the horses for the Union Army. Confederate artillery bombarded Nashville. Johnson wrote to Lincoln about Buell on August 31, and Lincoln replaced Buell with General Rosecrans on October 24.
      Johnson persuaded Lincoln that Tennessee would abolish slavery, and it was the most southern state exempted from the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22. Johnson called for a Congressional election in two districts in December, but General Forrest’s Confederate raid reduced the voting on election day.
      In late February and all of March in 1863 Johnson supported Lincoln’s policies on a speaking tour to Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and western states. In the spring he went to Washington and conferred with Lincoln. After Union armies drove Confederate forces from Tennessee during the summer, Johnson organized mass meetings to restore the state in the Union; but a Confederate victory in East Tennessee delayed that. A mass meeting at Memphis on December 26 petitioned the United States for a civil government. Johnson organized a meeting at Nashville on 21 January 1864, but his stringent oath deterred many Unionists from voting in the county election in early March.
      Lincoln wanted to replace his Vice President Hamlin to appeal to border states and Democrats. On May 30 at a convention in Nashville state delegates resolved to support Lincoln for re-election and Andrew Johnson for Vice President. In June at a convention in Baltimore the Republicans called themselves the National Union Party. The radical Thaddeus Stevens wanted to exclude Tennessee, but delegates from there, Arkansas, and Louisiana were admitted. Johnson still considered himself a Democrat. He believed that the rebellion was against democracy, though he admitted that slavery was dead. Lincoln’s people persuaded the delegates to nominate Johnson for Vice President.
      By 1864 Andrew Johnson had become an abolitionist. He campaigned in the border states and the West, and in October he told a black audience that he was decreeing the end of slavery. In November the Union Party ticket of Lincoln and Johnson easily defeated the Democrat McClellan with 55% of the votes and 212 electoral votes to 21. Republicans outnumbered Democrats 149-42 in the US House of Representatives and 42-10 in the US Senate. Confederates attacked Nashville again in December, and Johnson and his family returned to Greeneville.
      Johnson required a hard oath to defeat the Confederacy and to abolish slavery in Tennessee which prevented getting the ten percent needed to be re-admitted as a state. In February 1865 about 25,000 white men in Tennessee voted overwhelmingly to abolish slavery. After Johnson was inaugurated as Vice President in March, William C. Brownlow became Governor of Tennessee. He proposed a separate territory for a “nation of freedmen.”
      Johnson was ill with malaria for two weeks, and on 22 February 1865 Tennessee voters approved a new constitution that prohibited slavery. The election to replace Johnson as Governor of Tennessee was to be on March 4, the day of the US inauguration. Johnson wanted to see Brownlow elected, and he wrote to Congress for permission to take the oath at Nashville. Although six vice presidents had taken the oath away from Washington, Lincoln and his cabinet advised Johnson that it would be safer for him to be in Washington.
      Johnson was too ill to speak in Nashville before leaving on February 25, and he reached Washington on March 1. Two days later he resigned as Military Governor and Brigadier General. Urged by admirers to attend a party the night before the ceremony, he went despite his poor health. On March 3 War Secretary Edwin Stanton wrote to Johnson that he admired his service “in a position of personal toil and danger perhaps more hazardous than was encountered by any other citizen or military officer in the United States.”4
      On March 4 Johnson did not feel well and asked Vice President Hamlin to bring him whiskey as a stimulant. Johnson rarely drank; but when he did, it was straight whiskey. He drank three glasses of whiskey before he spoke to the Senate in the overheated chamber. He was to speak for only five minutes, but for fifteen he rambled on about how he was proud to be a plebeian. He mentioned the Cabinet members and proclaimed that he was a “creature” of the people. Senator Sumner and others soon realized that Johnson was drunk. When Lincoln came in, Vice President Hamlin made Johnson stop and administered the oath of office to him. Lincoln later said that Johnson had “made a bad slip” but that he was not a “drunkard.” When they went outside for the President’s speech, Lincoln told a marshal not to let Johnson speak.
      Johnson was taken to the estate of Francis Blair in Silver Spring, Maryland where he stayed in seclusion for the next two weeks during the scandal. He gave his only public speech as Vice President on April 2 in front of the Willard Hotel after the fall of Richmond, saying, “Treason must be made odious, and traitors must be punished and impoverished. Their great plantations must be seized and divided into small farms.”5 He wanted Jefferson Davis and other Confederate leaders hanged. He went with Lincoln on a visit to captured Richmond on April 6. He also talked with Lincoln at the White House on April 14. About two hours after Lincoln’s death on April 15, Chief Justice Chase administered to Andrew Johnson the oath as the next President of the United States.

Johnson & US Reconstruction April-July 1865

      By early in 1865 more than one million former slaves were inside the Union lines in Confederate states while 700,000 slaves were living in the border states where slavery was nearing its termination. Some planters began negotiating wage and sharing contracts with their former slaves to get them to resume working. Winston County in Alabama held a convention on July 4 with 3,000 delegates who would not fight for the Confederacy. Those in the mountains of Rabun County wanted to secede from Georgia, and 8,000 men from the Ozark mountains in Arkansas enlisted in the Union Army.
      In East Tennessee military tribunals seized the property of hundreds of men they imprisoned. Southerners remaining loyal to the Union would remember the persecution they suffered during the war, and some became prominent white Republicans during Reconstruction.
      During a short financial panic in March the United States Government had bought its own bonds to keep prices steady; but the price of gold fell, and the interest on government bonds was paid in gold. By April the Union Army had conquered the South; only scattered forces remained in occupation as most soldiers went home. About 755,000 people died in the Civil War. Confederate losses were about 13% of the white men aged 18-45 while only 6.1% of the Union Army’s military-age men died. Yet about 77,000 more Union men died than Confederates. Clara Barton helped locate over 20,000 of the Union bodies for burial. Rebels returning home evicted families of black soldiers even though it was against the law. Former slaves had to sell their labor to survive, and men’s families were put in contraband camps or were neglected, resulting in tens of thousands dying. When the war ended, about three-quarters of the slaves were still in bondage. In April the Union Army held about 80 cities and towns.
      The US Government needed to stop borrowing by demobilizing the army. They had seven departments with 53,000 employees with annual salaries amounting to about $30 million a year. More than half the civil servants worked for the Post Office Department. Lincoln had replaced 1,457 of the 1,639 who were appointed by the President.
      President Lincoln was assassinated by the actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre on April 14 which was Good Friday. About two hours after Lincoln’s death on April 15 Chief Justice Chase administered to Andrew Johnson the oath as the next President of the United States, but he did not make an inaugural address.
      On April 17 and 18 Union General William Tecumseh Sherman met at Bennett Place near Durham, North Carolina with General Joseph Johnston who commanded a Confederate Army of 89,270 soldiers and the remaining forces. Knowing that this treaty was ending the Civil War, Sherman offered generous terms that included guaranteeing the rights and privileges of those who would take an oath to the US Constitution. Informed by telegraph, War Secretary Edwin Stanton immediately repudiated the treaty and reproached Sherman. General Ulysses S. Grant went to Raleigh to resolve the differences, and on April 26 Sherman and Johnston agreed on similar terms to those Grant and Lee had signed at Appomattox on the 9th. Sherman gave Confederate soldiers ten days of rations with horses and mules and corn meal and flour for civilians.
      President Johnson met with the Cabinet on April 16 and assured them that he was retaining all of them. According to Treasury Secretary McCulloch there was no alcohol in Johnson’s office, and he never saw him drinking at night. On that day Johnson also met with Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and others on the Committee on the Conduct of the War, and it was reported that Johnson promised them, “Treason must be made infamous, and traitors must be punished.”6 That night Republicans met with Stanton, Senator Charles Sumner, and House Speaker Schuyler Colfax who advocated enfranchising blacks because without the vote they would not be really free. Sumner talked with Johnson almost every day during his first month as the President urging him to bring about justice for the colored race and black suffrage.
      General Ulysses S. Grant in late April sent 50,000 soldiers to south Texas, and on May 3 he dispatched General Philip Sheridan to the border with Mexico. Grant believed that the aggressive conquest of Mexico by the United States had been wrong, and he wanted to help the Mexicans free themselves of French domination. He urged Sheridan to help President Juárez, and the US Army sent 60,000 rifles to the Mexican Army which by the summer of 1866 would regain control over northern Mexico as the French withdrew.
      From April to November about 800,000 Union soldiers mustered out and returned to their homes. Secretary of War Stanton supervised the selling of 128,840 horses and mules for about $7,500,000 and 83 locomotives with 1,009 railway cars for $1,500,000. Sales of buildings and other property brought in about $4,350,000. The quartermaster-general’s bureau also laid off 83,887 employees.
      In early May the Chief Justice Salmon Chase traveled to the South to urge whites to enfranchise blacks. Thaddeus Stevens, Sumner, and other Radicals also advised Johnson to appoint provisional governors who would permit blacks to vote.
      On May 2 President Johnson announced a reward of $100,000 for the arrest of Confederate President Jefferson Davis as a suspect in the conspiracy that killed Lincoln. On the 10th Davis disguised as a woman was captured at Irwinville, Georgia, and other officers of that government were arrested. Davis would be imprisoned for two years.
      At a meeting on May 8 Johnson’s Cabinet was equally divided on black suffrage. The next day Johnson recognized the governments under the governors Francis Pierpont of Virginia, William Brownlow of Tennessee, James Wells of Louisiana, and Isaac Murphy of Arkansas.
      The new Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands was under the War Department and was limited to one year after the end of the Confederacy. Congress had passed the bill on March 3, and on May 11 War Secretary Stanton appointed as its commissioner General Oliver Otis Howard, who had lost an arm in the battle of Fair Oaks (Seven Pines) in 1862. The Act called for setting apart confiscated and abandoned lands for use by refugees and freedmen in 40-acre lots leased for three years with annual rent no more than 6% of the 1860 appraised value of the land. Howard issued Circular 13 to implement this on July 28.
      Johnson used his presidential pardon power to restore land to former Confederates. He criticized Freedmen Bureau agents in Georgia, Louisiana, and especially Tennessee where he wanted no agents in the eastern portion that was Unionist. On September 12 Commissioner Howard was forced to issue Circular 15 which considered lands confiscated only if there was a court decree, and it restored lands to owners who had been pardoned. This meant removing blacks from land they had been given.
      The Freedmen Bureau would have up to 900 agents in the field who were intermediaries between the freedmen and the military. Female abolitionists advocated for the freedmen and especially for women’s rights. Josephine Griffing had helped found the Bureau, and she started two industrial schools for freedwomen. In June she became an assistant commissioner in Washington. She complained that the Bureau was neglecting the needs of 20,000 freed people in Washington. Howard dismissed her in November for collecting money and distributing it without going through the Bureau. She went north to find jobs for freed people. The Bureau helped freedmen get labor contracts for cash wages, and it provided transportation for 30,000 freed men to move in 1865 and 1866.
      Louisiana’s Governor Michael Hahn had been elected to the US Senate as a Republican in 1862. His successor as governor in 1864, James Madison Wells, owned about a hundred slaves; but the Confederacy had arrested him for being a Unionist. Wells appointed conservative Unionists and Confederate veterans who aimed to change the free state constitution adopted in 1864. On May 17 Johnson removed General Banks from command in Louisiana and confirmed the policies of Wells. Also on that day General Grant ordered General Sheridan to Texas to end the war there. Because of French troops in Mexico City, Grant told Sheridan, “The Rio Grande should be strongly held whether the forces in Texas surrender or not.”7
      On May 9 at its 32nd annual meeting William Lloyd Garrison proposed disbanding the American Anti-Slavery Society, but Frederick Douglass argued that abolition was not complete until blacks got the vote. The members voted 118-48 to continue the society, and they elected Wendell Phillips their president. The National Anti-Slavery Standard adopted the motto “No Reconstruction Without Negro Suffrage.”
      W. E. B. Du Bois published in 1935 the 746-page comprehensive history Black Reconstruction in America: An Essay Toward a History of the Part Which Black Folk Played in the Attempt to Reconstruct Democracy in America, 1860-1880. He quoted what Whitelaw Reid said in 1865:

Whoever has read what I have written about
the cotton fields of St. Helena will need no assurance that
another cardinal sin of the slave, his laziness—
‘inborn and ineradicable,’ as we were always told
by his masters—is likewise disappearing
under the stimulus of freedom and necessity.
Dishonesty and indolence, then,
were the creation of slavery, not the necessary
and constitutional faults of the Negro character.8

Du Bois also contended

how two theories of the future of America
clashed and blended just after the Civil War:
the one was abolition-democracy based on freedom,
intelligence and power for all men
the other was industry for private profit
directed by an autocracy determined at any price
to amass wealth and power.9

      Washington at this time had about 75,000 people, and a third of them were black. On May 23 about 200,000 soldiers from four Union Armies extending 26 miles marched through Washington for over six hours as more than a hundred bands played. General Phil Sheridan led the cavalry. On the reviewing stand were President Andrew Johnson, General Grant, and the members of the Cabinet. The next day Sherman’s Army of the Mississippi paraded. Stanton did not want Sherman leading his army, but President Johnson let him do so. On the stand Sherman shook hands with Johnson and Grant but refused Stanton’s hand.
      The Union Army had about one million soldiers in April, but by November they were down to 183,000. By the end of 1866 the US Army would be reduced to a standing force of 25,000 and would remain at that level for the next thirty years.
      Secretary of State William Seward recovered from wounds inflicted in the attempted assassination on April 14, and according to Blaine he began to advise Johnson on how to fulfill President Lincoln’s compassionate reconstruction policy “to re-establish the Union of the states and reunite the hearts of the people.”10
      The New York Tribune on May 8 proposed this agenda,

1. Everyone must realize that
the blacks will not emigrate but stay in America.
2. The blacks may not be spared, for their labor
makes land valuable, and the land may not be spared.
3. Fair pay for fair work is a sine qua non.
4. Education for freedmen.
5. With education comes self-elevation,
and the desire to deny him the vote will disappear.
6. However, white men who are ignorant and vicious, vote.
Suffrage for blacks regardless of this ignorance.
7. Fidelity to the political creed of the nation
to secure the happiness of all.11

      On May 29 Johnson issued two proclamations on his Reconstruction policies. He granted amnesty and pardons to restore all property rights except for slavery for rebels who would pledge loyalty to the Union and accept emancipation. This was similar to Lincoln’s proclamation in December 1863 except that former Confederate officials and those with property worth more than $20,000 were excluded, though they could apply for individual pardons. In the next year most rebels were pardoned. Johnson appointed William Holden the provisional governor of North Carolina and advised him to summon a constitutional convention to create a republican government. Those who had not been pardoned could not vote for delegates; otherwise voting was the same as before secession. Holden appointed more than 4,000 officials by August. Stanton was disappointed that Johnson had not proposed Negro suffrage in North Carolina, a rift that would grow.
      Confederate General Kirby Smith on May 26 began negotiating his surrender to US General Edward Canby at New Orleans, and Smith on June 2 at Galveston, Texas signed the terms that surrendered the forces west of the Mississippi River to Union officers.
      On June 7 a federal grand jury in Norfolk, Virginia indicted for treason the Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, Joseph Johnston, James Longstreet, and others. Lee wrote to Grant requesting clemency and fulfillment of the surrender terms. Grant sent these to Stanton with his recommendation, but the cabinet postponed a decision. Grant then went to President Johnson who wanted all those men tried. When Grant said he would resign, Johnson realized he needed his best ally and instructed Attorney General Speed to order the US attorney in Norfolk to drop the charges which he did on June 20.
      On June 17 Johnson appointed Andrew J. Hamilton the provisional governor of Texas. The President’s proclamations were approved by every member of his cabinet for Texas and Georgia on May 31, for Alabama on June 21, for South Carolina on June 30, and for Florida on July 13. State conventions met in Mississippi on August 14, in Alabama on September 12, in South Carolina on September 13, in North Carolina on October 2, in Georgia and Florida on October 24, and in Texas on 7 February 1866. When the abolition of slavery took effect on December 18, the Union Army had about 111,000 troops in the former Confederate states including 23,000 in Texas.
      Johnson chose the Whig Congressmen James Johnson of Georgia and Lewis E. Parsons of Alabama to govern their states. He named the Whig planter, William L. Sharkey, who had withdrawn from politics during the war, as the Governor of Mississippi. Johnson appointed Judge William Marvin to govern Florida and the Unionist Benjamin F. Perry, who opposed planters, as Governor of South Carolina. Parsons, Sharkey, and Perry let Confederates stay in their local offices. The President sent the lawyer and editor Harvey M. Watterson to the South to reassure leaders he would leave the policy on voting to the states. He told them that Johnson favored “a white man’s government,” and they became his supporters.
      Most southern governors that Johnson appointed were not eligible for the office. To find qualified appointees he changed the Ironclad Oath, which affirmed one had never aided the Confederacy, to one promising only future loyalty to the United States. By September he was pardoning hundreds of southerners each day and restoring their property. About 15,000 applied for the pardons, and more than 7,000 got them by 1866. Johnson’s lenient policy was intended to inspire “the spring of loyal conduct and proper legislation rather than to impose upon them laws and conditions by external force.”12 On June 23 he ordered the end of the naval blockade against the South.
      At a cabinet meeting on June 16 Grant had urged action against Maximilian and the French in Mexico, but Seward and Welles advised using diplomacy. In late June General William T. Sherman replaced General John Pope as the commander of the Missouri Division. On the 30th Grant got a message from Sheridan that former Confederates were attacking federal arsenals and taking artillery into Mexico. Some rebel soldiers had gathered at Carlota near Vera Cruz. On July 14 Grant read to the cabinet a letter by Sheridan who hoped to cross the Rio Grande soon. Treasury Secretary McCulloch warned that getting into a Mexican War could bankrupt the US government, and Seward again advised not starting a war against the French. War Secretary Stanton persuaded Grant to reduce the US Army to 53,000 men.
      Grant received many gifts after the Civil War. People in his home town of Galena, Illinois raised $16,000 and gave him a nicely furnished house. Philadelphia presented him with a house worth much more. New York City donated $100,000, and Boston provided him with books worth $50,000 for his library. Grant loved horses and perhaps was most pleased with the 20 excellent horses he received. The gifts continued during his presidency. He was sent many boxes of cigars and once claimed he smoked 20 a day.
      On June 19 General Gordon Granger came to Galveston, Texas to take command of 2,000 Union troops who were in Texas to supervise the liberation of the slaves. Many of those troops were black. Granger read to the former slaves General Order No. 3 which changed their status from a slave to a hired laborer of an employer. Many slaveowners did not notify their slaves that they were free. Yet they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 that applied to those held in states still in rebellion against the United States. The end of the Civil War in April 1865 ended that rebellion. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery when enough states ratified it on December 6, and it was proclaimed on the 18th. The last slaves had been notified on June 19. Former slaves began celebrating “Juneteenth” annually to commemorate the end of slavery in the US, and on 17 June 2021 the United States made that date a national holiday.
      The Nation magazine began publishing on 5 July 1865, and in its second weekly issue they argued that the war with its bloody sacrifices consolidated the nation with democratic processes and that the main purpose of the war was to establish an indivisible nation instead of a “loose and changeable federation of independent states.” The Nation hired Harvard graduate John Richard Dennett who had participated in the Port Royal Experiment helping former slaves on the Sea Islands off South Carolina. President Andrew Johnson ended that experiment in 1865 when the land was given back to its previous owners. For eight months Dennett interviewed various people and sent weekly articles to The Nation which were published as The South As It Is. He learned that in June in Virginia’s Bedford and Campbell counties rations were given to 1,491 destitute people, but only 25 of them were colored persons.
      Those most involved in the conspiracy with John Wilkes Booth against Lincoln, Seward, and Johnson were Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. They were convicted and then hanged on July 7 along with Mary Surratt who was probably innocent. Five of the nine judges on the panel recommended clemency for her; but Stanton had the Judge Advocate General of the Army Joseph Holt hide that from Johnson before he signed the execution order.
      As of July 16 there were 123,156 Negro troops in the Union Army, and in the war they had lost 68,178 black men.
      Brigadier General Rufus Saxton was also an assistant commissioner, and he believed that the ex-slaves deserved land as compensation for past labor. He had helped blacks get land on the Sea Islands and the coast from South Carolina to Florida, and about 40,000 people were given 400,000 acres. After the war the US Government controlled 900,000 acres of confiscated land, and General Oliver O. Howard noted that this was only 1-500th of 1% of the total land in the US. The Bureau was authorized to grant freedmen no more than 40 acres for each person. Johnson had proposed redistributing the plantations to whites. On July 28 Howard ordered the land divided into 40-acre lots for lease to freedmen who would have three years to purchase the land. Many southerners criticized this policy. Before a month went by, Johnson ordered the army to stop the distribution and returned the land to its previous owners.

Johnson & Reconstruction August-December 1865

      Blacks held a convention at Alexandria, Virginia on August 2-5, and they drafted “An Address to the Loyal Citizens and Congress of the United States” that included these appeals:

Four fifths of our enemies are paroled or amnestied,
and the other fifth are being pardoned….
We warn you in time that our only safety is
in keeping them under Governors of the military persuasion
until you have so amended the Federal Constitution
that it will prohibit the States from making any distinction
between citizens on account of race or color.
In one word, the only salvation for us
besides the power of the Government,
is in the possession of the ballot.
Give us this, and we will protect ourselves.13

      At a Cabinet meeting on August 8 the Postmaster General Dennison asked Stanton why the country had been divided into 18 military districts with many generals. The War Secretary did not like the question and referred him to General Grant.
      Johnson in August ordered Commissioner Howard to return confiscated and abandoned land to pardoned southerners. That month the President supported Mississippi’s Governor Sharkey who had formed a state militia which the US General Henry Slocum opposed. Johnson also advised Sharkey to extend voting to blacks with property who were literate. The President hoped to foil the radicals such as George Stearns by telling them that he included army veterans. Johnson said the blacks would vote for their previous masters rather than the poor whites they hate. He agreed to withdraw black soldiers from the South, but generals sent many to garrison duty on the coast. He told Senator John Conness of California that he wanted the white men to manage the South so that blacks would not be an obstacle to reconstruction. When whites were mustered out of the Union Army, they could purchase their guns; but in Louisiana black veterans had to turn them in.
      During the summer of 1865 southern ordinances (black codes) were enacted to limit the free movement of blacks with laws against vagrancy, renting or purchasing real estate, or getting skilled work. Opelousas, Louisiana created a pass system with curfews for blacks that did not let them live in towns unless they were servants. A free black exposed these to the New Orleans Tribune. Most southern states at first refused to ratify the 13th Amendment banning slavery, or they accepted it with the condition that the US Congress would not interfere in the future of the former slaves.
      Johnson sent General Carl Schurz to study the current conditions in the South, and his 46-page report in his Reminiscences included this:

I saw in various hospitals negroes, women as well as men,
whose ears had been cut off
whose bodies were slashed with knives
or bruised with whips, or bludgeons,
or punctured with shot wounds.
Dead negroes were found in considerable number
in the country roads or on the fields,
shot to death, or strung on the limbs of trees.
In many districts the colored people
were in a panic of fright, and the whites
in an almost insane state of irritation against them.14

      Martin Robison Delany was a free African-American who began working with Frederick Douglass on The North Star in 1847, and he studied at the Harvard Medical College. He became a major in the Union Army and raised thousands of troops. While working for the Freedmen’s Bureau he spoke at the Brick Church on St. Helena’s island on July 23. He advised ex-slaves that they had become free by fighting for their independence, and he educated them that Africans were more able to stand the work of mining than the Indians or the Europeans who claimed superiority. That enticed the Europeans to enslave them for their profit. He suggested they grow vegetables for their families as well as rice and cotton, and he urged them to form communities to get land.
      On August 14 Mississippi held in Jackson the first state convention to implement Johnson’s plan of reconstruction. The next day Johnson sent Governor W. L. Sharkey a message advising him that the constitution should contain the abolition of slavery. He also said,

If you could extend the elective franchise to all persons
of color who can read the Constitution of the United States
in English and write their names and to all persons of color
who own real estate valued at not less than
two hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes thereon,
you would completely disarm the adversary
and set an example the other states will follow.
This you can do with perfect safety….
I hope and trust your convention will do this,
and as a consequence, the Radicals,
who are wild upon negro franchise, will be completely foiled
in their attempts to keep the Southern States
from renewing their relations to the Union
by not accepting their Senators and Representatives.15

Sharkey replied by wire on the 20th that their convention would vote to abolish slavery in the constitution and would let the legislature decide on testifying in court and the right to vote. Sharkey wrote to the President that Mississippi people believe they should be relieved of martial law and “be treated as though the rebellion had ended.”
      During Pennsylvania’s Republican convention on September 6 Thaddeus Stevens proposed taking 10% of the 394 million of the total 465 million acres of land from about 70,000 southerners who owned more than 200 acres in order to grant 40 acres to each freedman. The remaining 90% could be sold in lots no bigger than 500 acres for about $10 per acre. This would produce $3,540 million. He suggested investing $300 million in government bonds at 6% interest to increase the pensions for Union veterans, using $200 million to compensate loyal men in the North and South who had suffered losses, and applying the remaining $3,040 million to pay off most of the national debt. In discussing the Blairs of Missouri he said, “When the virus of slavery has once entered the veins of the slaveholder, no subsequent effort seems capable of wholly eradicating it.”16 Stevens warned, “The whole fabric of Southern society must be changed, and it never can be done if this opportunity is lost.” He suggested,

If a majority of Congress can be found
wise and firm enough to declare
the Confederate States a conquered enemy,
reconstruction will be easy and legitimate;
and the friends of freedom
will long rule in the councils of the nation.17

      Black freedmen held a convention at Raleigh, North Carolina on September 3 and approved resolutions to repeal discriminatory laws and to get better wages, protection, and education. The American Missionary Association founded Atlanta University on September 18 as the first black college in the South. The American Baptist Home Mission aided in starting Virginia Union University, and the Baptist minister Henry M. Tupper founded Shaw University in December at Raleigh.
      The US Army had 324 garrisons and at least 630 outposts in September. That month the Illinois Republican Convention included the 8-hour working day in their platform. By 1867 six states would adopt 8-hour laws to outlaw 12-hour and 10-hour work days, though they were rarely enforced.
      After her arm was injured when she was thrown off a streetcar, the illiterate but brilliant Sojourner Truth managed to get the conductor arrested and convicted for assault and battery.
      On September 30 the Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Johnson as saying, “This country is for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be governed by white men.”18 In Mississippi the Jackson News put on their masthead “This is a white man’s country—President Johnson.” On October 7 colored citizens in Mississippi protested against the reactionary policies of the state, and they claimed to represent 437,404 people in the United States.
      On October 7 the New York Daily Tribune reported an address from the Convention of Colored People of North Carolina which said,

We are fully conscious that we cannot long expect
the presence of Government agents,
or of the troops to secure us against evil treatment
from unreasonable, prejudiced, and unjust men.
We have no desire to look abroad
for protection and sympathy.
We know we must find both at home,
among the people of our own State, and merit them
by our industry, sobriety and respectful demeanor,
or suffer long and grievous evils….
We most earnestly desire to have the disabilities
under which we have formerly lived removed;
to have all the oppressive laws which make
unjust discriminations on account of race or color
wiped from the statutes of the State.
We invoke your protection
for the sanctity of our family relations.19

      President Johnson in October required oath-takers to cancel Confederate debts that totaled about $54 million. Inflation during the war had increased the money supply to more than $1 billion.
      In the fall southern states held elections that many former Whigs won, though they became Democrats. In Louisiana whites persuaded Johnson to dismiss the Assistant Commissioner Thomas W. Conway of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Johnson also agreed to remove black troops from the South, and most left in the next two years.
      On October 17 the abolitionist Wendell Phillips spoke at the Music Hall in Boston severely criticizing Johnson for supporting “half-converted” rebels, and he called the President an enemy who cannot be trusted.
      Johnson spoke to a regiment of Negro soldiers in October and promised them,

This is your country as well as anybody else’s country.
This country is founded upon the principle of equality….
He that is meritorious and virtuous,
intellectual and well informed, must stand highest,
without regard to color.20

On October 31 US Treasury Secretary McCulloch reported that the national debt was $2.8 billion.
      Johnson offered to commute the death sentence of Henry Wirtz, the commandant of the prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville, Georgia if he implicated Jefferson Davis in his atrocities; but Wirtz refused to do so, and he was hanged on November 10.
      On that day Senator John Sherman of Ohio wrote to his brother, General William T. Sherman, how the Civil War had benefited capitalists, and he predicted growing success for them.

The truth is, the close of the war
with our resources unimpaired gives an elevation,
a scope to the ideas of leading capitalists far higher
than anything ever undertaken in this country before.
They talk of millions as confidently
as formerly of thousands.
No doubt the contraction that must soon come
will explode merely visionary schemes,
but many vast undertakings will be executed.
Among them will be the Pacific R.R.
and extensive ironworks, like some in England.
Our manufacturers are yet in their infancy,
but soon I expect to see, under the stimulus
of a great demand and the protection of our tariff,
locomotive and machine shops worthy of the name.21

      On December 1 Johnson restored the writ of habeas corpus that Lincoln had suspended during the war.
      The 73-year-old Thaddeus Stevens, the leading radical Congressman from Pennsylvania, organized his colleagues to preserve the Union victory and to go beyond the limited reconstruction efforts of Johnson. On December 2 he proposed this plan:

1. To claim the whole question of Reconstruction
   as the exclusive business of Congress.
2. To regard the steps taken by the President
   as only provisional.
3. Each House to postpone consideration
   of the admission of members from Southern states.
4. And that a Joint Committee of Fifteen be appointed
   to inquire into the condition
   of the former Confederate states.22

When the Congress met on December 4, all of the Confederate states except Texas had fulfilled the requirements set by Johnson for being re-admitted to the US. All the senators and representatives elected by the former Confederate states who came to Washington were Democrats. Stevens and Sumner reminded the Congress that Johnson had also been a Democrat. They persuaded both the House and the Senate to refuse to seat the southerners elected under their current governments. Republicans realized that if more than three-fifths of the blacks in the South were counted as the basis for representation, and if they were not allowed to vote, then the southern and northern Democrats could greatly increase their power in the electoral college and in Congress with 20 more representatives. Senator Sumner emphasized the clause in the US Constitution that guarantees every state a republican government. The United States could still use the war powers that justified the military occupation of the South. During the House debate James Brooks of New York said, “If Tennessee is not in the Union, the President of the United States must be a foreigner and a usurper.”23
      In December when the US Congress was debating the 14th Amendment, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone submitted a petition for a constitutional amendment for universal suffrage including women and former slaves. The effort for the 14th Amendment brought a conflict between the opponents of racism and sexism when the word “male” was included three times. Susan B. Anthony correctly realized that this would make it necessary to pass another constitutional amendment to give women the vote in federal elections. Efforts by women to get their rights at this time were dismissed by many who believed that this was “the Negro’s hour.”
      After forming that joint committee they allowed President Johnson’s annual message to be read on December 4. Johnson worked hard from six in the morning despite sporadic pain from a kidney ailment that forced him to rest in bed. In his long message, which was influenced by the advice of the historian George Bancroft and was well received by most except the Radical Republicans, he said,

Now military governments,
established for an indefinite period,
would have offered no security
for the early suppression of discontent,
would have divided the people
into the vanquishers and the vanquished,
and would have envenomed hatred
rather than have restored affection.
Once established, no precise limit
to their continuance was conceivable.
They would have occasioned
an incalculable and exhausting expense….
All parties in the late terrible conflict
must work together in harmony.
It is not too much to ask, in the name of the whole people,
that on the one side the plan of restoration
shall proceed in conformity with a willingness
to cast the disorders of the past into oblivion,
and that on the other the evidence of sincerity
in the future maintenance of the Union
shall be put beyond any doubt by the ratification
of the proposed amendment to the Constitution,
which provides for the abolition of slavery forever
within the limits of our country….
This is the measure
which will efface the sad memory of the past;
this is the measure which will most certainly
call population and capital and security
to those parts of the Union that need them most….
The adoption of the amendment reunites us
beyond all power of disruption;
it heals the wound that is still imperfectly closed:
it removes slavery, the element
which has so long perplexed and divided the country;
it makes of us once more a united people,
renewed and strengthened,
bound more than ever to mutual affection and support….
Good faith requires the security of the freedmen
in their liberty and their property, their right to labor,
and their right to claim the just return of their labor.
I cannot too strongly urge
a dispassionate treatment of this subject,
which should be carefully kept aloof from all party strife.
We must equally avoid hasty assumptions
of any natural impossibility for the two races to live
side by side in a state of mutual benefit and good will.24

      Charles Francis Adams Sr. was Minister to England then, and he said this speech “raised the character of the nation immensely in Europe.”25 The 13th Amendment banning slavery was ratified in November by South Carolina and in December by Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia, making it the law of the United States. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution states,

   Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
shall exist within the United States,
or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
   Congress shall have power to enforce this article
by appropriate legislation.

      Johnson contended that the extension of the franchise to a new class of voters was up to the individual states and that freedmen could earn it by “patience and manly virtues.”
      On December 8 Senator Charles Sumner met with Navy Secretary Gideon Welles and showed him a memorial on impeaching the President, and Welles showed that to Johnson. He had sent General Grant to observe the South on November 27, and Grant returned from Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee on December 11. One week later the President sent to the Senate Grant’s report that southerners had “accepted the situation” and were not trying to revive slavery. His observations led him to conclude that the southerners were anxious to return to governing themselves, and he opposed redistributing land. Johnson agreed that the Union could be re-established soon. Grant advised that the Freedmen’s Bureau should have expenses as a separate organization.
      Carl Schurz had spent three months in the South. Senator Sumner had helped Schurz to publish articles in a radical Republican newspaper and to improve his finances. Johnson learned of this and put off seeing Schurz. The Senate requested the Schurz report, and Sumner got it read aloud to counter Grant’s report which Sumner said was like the “whitewashing” of Franklin Pierce’s message on the “enormities of Kansas.” Schurz advised giving the vote to Negroes, and he suggested that no Confederate state be re-admitted until the blacks could vote. Sumner criticized Johnson and read from letters he had received from the South that described hangings, beatings, and torture.
      Radicals in Congress were considering enfranchising blacks in the District of Columbia; but a referendum of white voters in December got only 35 votes in favor and 6,951 against, and in Georgetown the opposing vote was 813-1. On December 13 the US Congress formed a joint committee on Reconstruction with 9 members from the House and 6 from the Senate that Republican Rep. Thaddeus Stevens had proposed. The next day Stevens became chairman of that Joint House-Senate Committee with 12 Republicans and 3 Democrats. They asked President Johnson not to take any more steps on Reconstruction until they could act, and he said he had nothing planned at that time. They formed five sub-committees to study conditions in the South. They would listen to 145 witnesses which included 35 US Army officers and 71 southerners of whom six were black. Many blamed Johnson’s policies for encouraging white resistance. Some predicted that if Congress accepted southern representatives, most freedmen would be not much better off than slaves.
      On December 18 Secretary of State Seward announced that the 13th Amendment had been ratified ending slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States. At the end of the year General Grant asked his commanders to send in reports on the violence in the South. They replied only from Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas describing over 200 assaults on blacks and 44 murders.
      On December 24 at Pulaski, Tennessee six former Confederate officers founded the secret Ku Klux Klan as a club under the leadership of Nathan Bedford Forrest. The name came from kuklos, which means “circle” in Greek; but they changed it “Ku Klux” and added “Klan,” and many would call it “the KKK.”
      Mississippi and South Carolina began passing Black Codes in October, and they were followed by Alabama in December. Also in 1865 the states of Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Minnesota decided not to allow blacks to vote. After the Civil War 527 blacks emigrated to Liberia in 1865 followed by 621 in 1866.
      The black capitalist Benjamin Montgomery ran a plantation store and managed the Davis Bend cotton transactions, and in 1865 the workers produced 2,000 bales of cotton and cleared a profit of $160,000. They elected judges and sheriffs. President Andrew Johnson’s amnesty in 1865 allowed former owners to regain their land, and in 1881 the Mississippi Supreme Court recognized Jefferson Davis, his older brother Joseph, and other heirs as the owners.

Johnson & Reconstruction January-May 1866

      Mississippi and South Carolina had begun passing Black Codes in October 1865, followed by Alabama in December and other southern states in 1866. On January 12 Florida approved a bill that could punish “any person of color” based on certain conditions. Under Florida’s code blacks who violated labor contracts could be whipped, pilloried, or sold to work for up to one year, and they could be whipped for “impudence and disrespect.” Florida prohibited whites from riding in railroad cars designated for Negroes.
      On January 15 Virginia passed its Vagrant Act that could force them into employment for three months; if they ran away, they could be chained and denied compensation. Virginia’s law required black workers to accept common wages.
      Georgia ruled the idle must work. Mississippi passed laws on the civil rights of freedmen, which included acquiring and disposing of property and legal marriages, as well as limitations on apprentices, vagrants, and a penal code to punish freedmen, free blacks, and mulattoes who were forbidden to ride in first-class railroad cars. The Alabama code could fine vagrants $50; or if they could not pay, they could be “hired out at public auction for a period of six months.” Former slave-owners there were given preference in apprenticing children.
      South Carolina made it a crime for any Negro to work at any trade except as a farmer or a house servant, and they required them to pay the fine and a tax into a Pauper fund. They had to sign annual labor contracts that required them to work from sunrise to sunset, and they could not entertain guests or leave the plantation without the employer’s permission.
      Louisiana’s black code regulated labor contracts for agricultural employment. Workers who left their contracted jobs could have the wages forfeited and could be arrested by a white citizen. Anyone hiring a worker who was under a contract could be fined up to $500 or imprisoned. Blacks could not rent land in towns, and vagrancy was punished by fines or plantation labor. Insulting gestures and language were made criminal offenses as was preaching without a license. In Louisiana the employer was to settle all disputes with workers. Yet New Orleans had integrated schools until 1877. Many whites agreed not to rent or sell land to blacks and not to compete with each other over black labor. Some still used beating, whipping, mutilating, raping, and murder of blacks. Opelousas, Louisiana had a law keeping all Negroes out of their town, and in 1868 whites killed dozens of blacks for protesting there.
      In Louisiana and Texas all able members of a family could be made to work. Texas required railroad companies to have one car on passenger trains for freedmen.
      To correct the discriminatory effects of these Black Codes, Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in early January 1866 proposed an innovative Civil Rights Bill to apply laws equally to all US citizens except Indian nations. Congressman Henry J. Raymond, who was also the New York Times editor, called this “one of the most important bills ever presented to this House for its actions.”26
      Trumbull also introduced a bill to renew the Freedmen’s Bureau to give it funding and authorize its agents to bring cases on behalf of blacks and to prosecute state officials who deny blacks their civil rights. On January 9 the US Congress began debating the Freedmen’s Bureau, and both houses approved more aid for the freed blacks. The next day a Negro convention in Atlanta declared they were no longer silent, and they appealed to the legislature. That month in Arkansas 59,532 of the Bureau’s rations went to whites, 11,696 to freedmen, and 4,663 to refugees.
      Mississippi passed a law that after January 8 Negroes or mulattoes over the age of 18 with “no lawful employment or business” who were found “unlawfully assembling” could be fined up to $50 or be imprisoned for up to 10 days, and a white person assembling with them could be fined $200 and or be imprisoned for 6 months. Then Mississippi revived their slave code in regard to punishment.
      On January 12 General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 3 to protect colored people from the Black Codes and prosecutions in any state who were “charged with offenses for which white persons are not prosecuted or punished in the same manner and degree.”27 Grant received a report from New Orleans where General Edward Canby warned that if martial law were revoked, northern men would leave the South and that blacks would be worse off than when they were cared for because they were considered property.
      President Johnson discussed the bill with his cabinet which was equally divided. Then he sent it back on February 19 with his veto message which noted that eleven southern states had not participated in the legislation, making the bill illegal in his opinion. He said it would have the military ruling about a third of the nation without supervision or right of appeal, and he believed it would cost millions. Johnson argued that too much power should not be entrusted to one man in peace time, and he opposed efforts by Thaddeus Stevens to confiscate land without due process of law. He objected to the US Congress legislating for a part of the country without any representatives in the Congress from those states. After the veto message was read aloud, the radical Senator Ben Wade accused Johnson of being a traitor; but on that day the Senate could not get a two-thirds vote to override the veto.
      On February 6 Senator Sumner continued the speech he started the day before. He said that if 200,000 blacks in the Union Army were willing to die for the Republic, they surely were good enough to vote. His 5-hour oration was published as The Equal Rights of All: The Great Guaranty and Present Necessity, for the Sake of Security, and to Maintain a Republican Government, Speech in the Senate on the proposed Amendment of the Constitution fixing the Basis of Representation, and he concluded this way:

   Show me a creature, with lifted countenance
looking to heaven, made in the image of God,
and I show you a man, who, of whatever country or race,
whether browned by equatorial sun or blanched
by northern cold, is with you a child of the Heavenly Father,
and equal with you in all the rights of Human Nature.
You cannot deny these rights without impiety….
As God linked the national welfare with national duty,
you cannot deny these rights without peril to the Republic.
It is not enough that you have given Liberty.
By the same title that we claim Liberty
do we claim Equality also.
One cannot be denied without the other.
What is Equality without Liberty?
What is Liberty without Equality?
One is the complement of the other.
The two are necessary to begin
and complete the circle of American citizenship.
They are the inseparable organs
through which the people have their national life.
They are the two vital principles of republican government,
without which, government, although republican in name,
cannot be republican in fact.
These two vital principles belong to those divine statutes
graven on the soul of Universal Man,
even of the slave who forgets them,
and of the master who denies them,
and, whether forgotten or denied,
more enduring than marble or brass,
for they share the perpetuity of the human family.
   The Roman Cato, after declaring
his belief in the immortality of the soul, added, that,
if this were an error, it was an error he loved.
And now, declaring my belief in Liberty and Equality
as the God-given birthright of all men, let me say,
in the same spirit, if this be an error, it is an error I love,—
if this be a fault, it is a fault I shall be slow to renounce,—
if this be an illusion, it is an illusion which
I pray may wrap the world in its angelic forms.28

      On February 7 some blacks were delegated by a convention of Colored Men in Washington, and three days earlier they had interviewed President Johnson in the White House. George T. Downing made a short speech to Johnson, and then Frederick Douglass asked the President to give them the ballot so that they could save themselves. Johnson predicted that if Negro suffrage was forced on the South quickly, they would resist. He believed that this was for the people in each state to decide. Then Johnson urged Negroes to emigrate to another country rather than stay “crowded right down there in the South.”29 Douglass replied that they could not do so because they were “absolutely in the hands” of the ruling masters. Douglass said they would go to the people, and Johnson agreed that he had “great faith in the people.”
      On February 12 the United States began celebrating the birthday of Abraham Lincoln as a national holiday, and Johnson attended the ceremony in Washington. On that day Secretary of State Seward asked France’s Napoleon III when the French were going to cease military operations in Mexico, and ten days later Napoleon replied that he would remove the troops. On April 5 he announced that he would withdraw them in three stages ending in November 1867, but they all left Mexico by 11 March 1867.
      Treasury Secretary McCulloch advised Johnson not to make a speech at the celebration of Washington’s birthday on February 22; but the crowd asked for one, and Johnson spoke for an hour. He said,

Let their leaders, the conscious, intelligent traitors,
suffer the penalty of the law;
but for the great mass who have been forced
into this rebellion and misled by their leaders,
I say leniency, kindness, trust, and confidence.30

They asked who were the Radicals against him, and he named Sumner, Stevens, and Wendell Phillips who were accusing him of usurpation and of being an enemy of the nation. Johnson said, “Men may talk about beheading and usurpation; but when I am beheaded, I want the American people to be the witnesses!”31 He intended to stand by the US Constitution, and he called the joint Committee of 15 recently formed by Rep. Stevens “an irresponsible central directory” who had taken on “nearly all the powers of Congress.” Some newspapers praised his speech, and the Chicago Times suggested arresting Sumner, Stevens, and Phillips for treason. A mass meeting was held at the Cooper Union in New York in support of the President. General Sherman noted how Johnson had stood up against the rebels during the war and had reconstructed Tennessee.
      Also in February the former general and New York financier Daniel Butterfield gave Ulysses Grant $105,000 to help him with his social obligations in Washington. Many businessmen sent gifts to the war-hero Grant, and he had moved into a home in Georgetown with a $34,000 mortgage.
      The US Congress had passed An Act to Protect all Persons in the United States in their Civil Rights, and Furnish the Means of their Vindication in the Senate on February 2, and the House did so on March 15. The Republican Radicals in the Senate, needing two-thirds to overcome a veto, on March 26 managed to expel John P. Stockton of New Jersey whose election had been challenged. The next day Johnson’s veto of the Civil Rights Act arrived. He argued that 11 of the 36 states had not been represented, and he questioned whether colored persons and other excepted classes should be made citizens. He wrote,

The white race and the black race of the South
have hitherto lived together under the relation
of master and slave capital owning labor.
Now, suddenly, that relation is changed,
and as to ownership capital and labor are divorced.
They stand now each master of itself.
In this new relation, one being necessary to the other,
there will be a new adjustment,
which both are deeply interested in making harmonious.
Each has equal power in settling the terms,
and if left to the laws that regulate capital and labor
it is confidently believed that
they will satisfactorily work out the problem.
Capital, it is true, has more intelligence,
but labor is never so ignorant as
not to understand its own interests,
not to know its own value,
and not to see that capital must pay that value.
   This bill frustrates this adjustment.
It intervenes between capital and labor
and attempts to settle questions of political economy
through the agency of numerous officials
whose interest it will be to foment discord
between the two races, for as the breach
widens their employment will continue,
and when it is closed, their occupation will terminate.32

Johnson wrote that he did not oppose equal civil rights for all, but he objected to the means proposed for enforcing them. He concluded,

I will cheerfully cooperate with Congress in any measure
that may be necessary for the protection of the civil rights
of the freedmen, as well as those of all other classes
of persons throughout the United States, by judicial process,
under equal and impartial laws, in conformity
with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.33

On April 9 the US Congress over-rode the President’s veto, the Senate 33-15 and the House 122-41. After that southerners enacted laws that did not refer to race, and most southern states repealed their laws that applied to blacks by the end of 1866.
      On April 2 President Johnson had declared the insurrection ended in every confederate state except Texas; but War Secretary Stanton and General Grant sent a confidential message to commanders that they should continue martial law. They reminded them that the President does not control the Freedmen’s Bureau.
      On April 11 Alexander H. Stephens, who had been Vice President of the Confederacy, gave a speech on the states’ right to govern themselves. The Georgia legislature elected him to the US Senate in 1866, but he was not allowed to take his seat.
      In April in the US House of Representatives a bitter debate between Roscoe Conkling of Utica, New York and James G. Blaine of Maine over the behavior of the Provost Marshal General James B. Fry abolished the position of the Provost Marshal General and led to an ongoing feud between the two Republicans even though they agreed on most issues.
      The Ohio lawyer Henry Stanbery had helped write Johnson’s veto message, and on April 16 the President nominated him to fill a vacancy on the US Supreme Court; but the Senate refused to consider confirming him. Instead the US Congress in July passed the Judicial Circuits Act that reduced the number of Supreme Court Justices by not filling any vacancy until the number of associate justices was reduced to six. Johnson then appointed Stanbery as Attorney General to replace James Speed, and on July 23 the Senate confirmed him.
      The US Army had quartered some colored artillerymen at Memphis in April. On May 1 after a collision of two horse-drawn carriages the police arrested the black driver, and some black veterans tried to intervene. A white crowd gathered, and a race riot broke out that went on for three days with Irish police and firemen siding with the whites. At least 48 people were killed, and all but two were black. Five black women were raped, and hundreds of black schools, churches, and other buildings were burned. Thaddeus Stevens demanded this be investigated, and the House sent three Congressmen to Memphis to hold hearings. General Grant urged War Secretary Stanton to have the military arrest the riot’s leaders and hold them until officials pressed charges, but President Johnson and Attorney General Speed refused to intervene. The army commander was blamed for not sending in any troops, and no one was indicted or punished. Grant told a reporter that troops would have to remain in the South for some time because of deep hatred and dangerous persons.
      On May 3 the US Congress passed a law that no one could vote who had fought against the United States unless he took an oath that he approved the defeat of the Confederacy.
      Apprenticeship laws were used to bind minors, and in Maryland and North Carolina thousands were bound to white guardians without the consent of their parents. Blacks asked the Freedmen’s Bureau to free their children. Property laws enabled whites to accuse blacks of theft, and Virginia and Georgia made stealing a horse or a mule a capital crime. North Carolina’s Gov. William Graham made even the “intent to steal” larceny. New laws meant that blacks could be prosecuted for hunting, fishing, and grazing livestock. Some states made it illegal for blacks to own a gun, and others imposed taxes on dogs and guns.
      Most of these laws were intended to keep blacks working on the plantations, and they were enforced by militiamen who were often Confederate veterans who raided homes where blacks refused to sign labor contracts. Blacks were not allowed on juries, but by the summer of 1866 most states allowed blacks to testify. Under Mississippi law a black who falsely accused a white could be fined, imprisoned, or hired out until wages paid the fine. Sheriffs rarely prosecuted whites who were accused by blacks. In Texas 500 white men were indicted for the murder of blacks in 1865 and 1866, but not one was convicted. Blacks with long prison terms could be forced to labor without pay on public works or be bound to white employers who paid their fines.
      In the South taxes on land were very low, but freedmen had to pay poll taxes. Mobile, Alabama required every adult male to pay a $5 tax or work on the chain-gang. Local, county, and state poll taxes could add up to $15. Southern laws began to exclude blacks from first-class railroad cars, public meetings, religious services, parks, schools, orphanages, and relief for the poor that was for whites. Louisiana stopped supporting the black school system that General Banks had started. North Carolina’s Gov. Jonathan Worth abolished the public schools he had started in North Carolina, and the legislature allowed some places to create private academies supported by taxes.
      The southern economy suffered from a labor shortage, and northerners began investing in railroads and some factories. To encourage loans for agriculture laws were passed to give creditors the first lien on the crop; but blacks found that planters often had their entire crop seized, leaving nothing for the workers. Plantations of former slaveholders were partitioned into small farms. Most of these were bought by less affluent whites and not as many blacks at first. Yet in Georgia alone in three years blacks purchased 6,850 farms.
      The Confederate states were way behind the North in railroads, and in 1866 and 1867 those eleven states added only 422 miles of railways. By 1867 blacks were one third of the prisoners in Texas, and most of them worked on railroads. Financiers became reluctant to invest where the political situation was unstable. European immigrants were not eager to replace the slaves, and 30 Swedes in 1866 left an Alabama planter the first week after being housed and fed like slaves.
      Low taxes on property and reluctance to finance public schools left the South with little funding for education. Many southerners wanted the Confederate states to pay off their debts, and they did not want to pay federal excise taxes that helped the US pay its war debts. Some even wanted to be compensated for their lost slaves which considered as “property” had been about 30% of the South’s wealth. Many southerners feared that elevating blacks would degrade whites. Alabama’s Gov. Parsons realized that their mistake was that they did not protect the Negroes with their laws. Discriminated against and oppressed by the white rulers in the South, the blacks turned to the Freemen’s Bureau and federal authority for help.

Johnson & Reconstruction June-December 1866

      On June 8 the US Senate voted 33-11 to approve the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, and five days later the US House of Representatives confirmed that 120-32. Section 1 declares,

All persons born or naturalized in the United States,
and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens
of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;
nor shall any State deprive any person
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2 reduces the numbers used as a basis for representation of any state that denies men 21 years of age the right to vote, but untaxed Indians are excluded. Section 3 prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the Constitution of the United States from holding any office in the US or in any of its states. Section 4 prohibits any state from paying debts incurred to aid such insurrection or rebellion, and Section 5 gives the US Congress the power to enforce the provisions.
      Elizabeth Cady Stanton had petitioned the Congress on January 2 not to add the word “male” to the Constitution because without it women could demand suffrage. She and Susan B. Anthony also presented petitions for female voting, but those issues had been debated and rejected. In a letter to the Independent on February 14 Lydia Maria Child wrote,

The future of our country, for good or ill,
depends upon standing firmly by the cause
of universal freedom and impartial justice now.
The test is being applied to them, to prove whether
they really and truly believe in the principles
they boast of before the civilized world.
What a shameful farce,
to talk of a republican form of government
where millions of citizens are not allowed to vote
for the government that taxes them
and drafts them into its armies!
and where they are forbidden to be jurors in courts
that have over them the power of life and death!34

      On June 16 Secretary of State Seward sent the 14th Amendment to the governors of all 36 states for ratification by their legislatures.
      On June 20 the Joint Committee on Reconstruction reported their conclusions that the states which rebelled were still too disorganized without civil government or constitutions for them to have a legal relationship with the federal government and that they had forfeited their rights and privileges which could only be restored by the “authority of that constitutional power against which they rebelled and by which they were subdued.”35 Thus the former Confederate States were not yet entitled to be represented in the US Congress.
      On June 22 President Johnson sent a message to Congress criticizing their attempt to amend the Constitution when 11 southern states were not represented. Tennessee ratified the 14th Amendment on July 18, and six days later it became the first Confederate state to be re-admitted into the Union. By January 1867 it had been ratified by only 17 states while 9 former Confederate states and Kentucky had rejected the amendment. The 14th Amendment would not be fully ratified until 9 July 1868.
      The Southern Homestead Act passed the Congress and was signed by Johnson on June 21, giving blacks and loyal whites first access until 1867 when 46 million acres of public land became available in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Yet private plantations controlled the best land. Only 4,000 black families gained homesteads by 1869, and about 3,000 of them got 160,000 acres in Florida that most of them lost later. The act required five years residence to gain no more than 80 acres. Only about 7,000 black families got land before the Act was repealed in 1876.
      In early July 1866 freedmen suffered from violence in northern Mississippi, and Grant ordered the commander George Thomas to suppress the outlaws; but civil authorities made no arrests. Grant issued General Orders No. 44 instructing all army commanders in the South to arrest criminals if civil officers declined to do so and to detain them until they were put on trial.
      President Johnson had issued 12,652 pardons by June 5, and on July 4 he proclaimed another general amnesty. The US Congress renewed the Freedmen’s Bureau and received Johnson’s veto on July 16, overcoming it on the same day. This gave the Bureau the power to enforce the Civil Rights Act with a budget of $6,940,450 for the fiscal year that had just begun on July 1. About two-thirds went for relief supplies and hospital expenses; $1.3 million was used to transport freedmen looking for jobs; and $521,000 went for education. A third of the rations that the Bureau distributed went to poor whites. The Congress also approved restoring land to white southerners on the Georgia coast and Sea Islands. About 3 million acres of public land in the South were opened to blacks for homesteads.
      On July 19 Cherokees led by Chief John Ross had signed a treaty that cancelled the alliance they had made with the Confederacy in October 1861, abolished slavery, and repealed the laws that allowed the confiscation of property. The new treaty allowed the Cherokees to occupy the Canadian District in the Indian Territory and land north of the Arkansas River. Ross had been the principal Cherokee chief since 1828. He died on August 1 in Washington DC after persuading President Johnson not to accept a harsh treaty favored by the Indian Commissioner Dennis Cooley.
      To prevent Johnson from appointing a justice the Congress reduced the Supreme Court on July 23 from nine to seven justices following the next vacancy. Tennessee ratified the 14th Amendment, and the US Congress readmitted the state on July 24. Congress on the 28th authorized use of the metric system and then adjourned.
      A Louisiana convention in New Orleans organized by Radical Republicans to reform the Black Codes met on July 30. As the 25 delegates were leaving the building, they were joined by about 200 black marchers who were mostly veterans. Fighting broke out between them and whites. Police intervened mostly on the side of the whites as 34 blacks and three white Radicals were killed; about 150 people were injured before federal troops ended the mêlée. Grant advised martial law after General Sheridan on August 2 telegraphed him,

It was not a riot.
It was an absolute massacre by the police….
It was a MURDER which the Mayor and Police of the city perpetrated without the shadow of a necessity.
Furthermore, I believe it was premeditated.36

      President Johnson was opposed by Interior Secretary Harlan, Postmaster General Dennison, and Attorney General Speed, and they resigned from the Cabinet in late July and August. Johnson appointed Alexander Randall of Wisconsin as Postmaster General, Lincoln’s friend Orville H. Browning as Interior Secretary, and Henry Stanbery as Attorney General.
      The Freedmen’s Bureau urged freed blacks to agree to contracts with employers. Commissioner Howard believed that this would teach them the duties and privileges of freedom. Many couples made marriage contracts. Ex-slaveowners could use the work contracts to subordinate their labor force. William Tunro of South Carolina insisted that his ex-slaves sign a contract for life. When Robert Perry and his wife refused, they were expelled and then murdered by white neighbors. Blacks were learning what many native tribes had experienced when dealing with the US Bureau of Indian Affairs.
      On August 14-16 the National Union Convention (Southern Loyalist Convention) of mostly Democrats met at Philadelphia to support President Johnson. Most of about 500 delegates were from the border states and Louisiana, and they agreed on little other than endorsing the 14th Amendment. Henry Raymond gave the main address, and Johnson said that the current Congress was “only a part of the states.” The National Union Executive Committee had the speeches printed as pamphlets and distributed.
      On August 17 President Johnson, General Grant, and Navy Secretary Gideon Welles received in the East Room of the White House a hundred delegates led by Maryland’s Senator Reverdy Johnson who commended Johnson for carrying out the policies of Lincoln. Johnson said he was trying to restore the Union and heal the breach. He also said,

We have seen the Congress pretend to be for the Union,
when its every step and act tended to perpetuate disunion
and make a disruption of the states inevitable.
Instead of promoting reconciliation and harmony
its legislation has partaken of the character
of penalties, retaliation and revenge.37

Welles believed that Democrats and Radical Republicans were putting party before country while Johnson placed country before party and consequently was not favored. In an era of patronage Treasury Secretary McCulloch thought that Johnson and his administration were honest and clean. Delegates from the Philadelphia convention wanted to remove War Secretary Stanton from the cabinet and Radicals from their offices.
      Johnson on August 20 proclaimed,

that the insurrection which heretofore existed
in the State of Texas is at an end …
and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority
now exist in and throughout
the whole of the United States of America.38

      On August 28 Johnson left the White House for a speaking tour of New York, Ohio, Detroit, Illinois, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Louisville, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore. He traveled with Grant, Seward, Welles, Admiral Farragut, General Meade, and others. He hoped to influence the Congressional elections and found that northerners were more sophisticated audiences because they read newspapers and did not want to hear and read repetitious stump speeches. Grant and Dr. Joseph Barnes got drunk on the way to Cleveland. Johnson was heckled in Cleveland, and he responded angrily accusing them of being a “subsidized gang of hirelings and traducers.” He said the US Congress was illegal because they denied representation to eleven states.
      At St. Louis he spoke to a banquet, and then outside he blamed the Congress for the riot in New Orleans. When the crowd chanted “Judas, Judas!” he replied, “If I am a Judas, who is the Jesus Christ? Is he Thaddeus Stevens? Is he Charles Sumner?” When someone shouted, “Impeach him,” Johnson shouted back that Congress might do that if they are not defeated in the coming election. In Indianapolis the crowd would not let him speak. After trying he went inside, and a fight broke out in which one man was killed. Grant was disgusted and wrote his wife that Johnson was a “National disgrace.” Three days later Grant left Johnson’s entourage and returned to Washington.
      In 19 days Johnson made over one hundred speeches; but he opposed the 14th Amendment, and Senator James R. Doolittle of Wisconsin estimated that Johnson’s “swing around the circle” lost him about a million northern voters.
      Johnson and his cabinet officers began using patronage to try to win support, and the President replaced Republicans with Democrats. In the first nine months of 1866 Johnson replaced about 1,650 postmasters. Hannibal Hamlin (Lincoln’s first VP) lost his lucrative job as customs collector at Boston for not backing Johnson. The New York Custom House had 1,200 political appointees with easy jobs that provided graft for the corrupt.
      Extremists on both sides made rash statements that threats and fears could lead to revolution or more civil war. Radical newspapers had been talking of impeaching the President since the spring. Grant heard a rumor that Johnson might try to replace the US Congress with southerners and northern Democrats. General Grant said that the military would defend the current Congress, and on September 22 he ordered surplus weapons to be removed from five southern arsenals and sent to New York. He also refused to give 10,000 weapons to white militias in Virginia.
      On October 2 Senator Sumner spoke at the Boston Music Hall and blamed President Johnson for the riots in Memphis and New Orleans.
      At the cabinet meeting on October 23 Grant refused to head the diplomatic mission to Mexico and asked Sherman to do that. Johnson wanted to add ex-rebels to the voting lists and send federal troops to Maryland to support the white supremacists against Union forces in Baltimore, but Grant advised against a military intervention just prior to an election. Democrats won the election in Maryland, but elsewhere Republicans increased their majorities.
      The 14th Amendment was popular in the North and Midwest, and in the elections the Republicans increased their majorities in the US Congress with 173 of the 226 seats in the House of Representatives and 43 of the 52 in the US Senate. Starting in October and by January 1867 ten southern legislatures rejected the 14th Amendment.
      Virginia’s Governor Pierpont requested surplus arms to reactivate the militia which had mostly Confederate veterans, and Johnson over-ruled Grant’s objections. Johnson sent Grant’s friend Sherman to be the ambassador to Mexico.
      Lambdin P. Milligan was a lawyer from Indiana who was convicted by a military tribunal and sentenced to be hanged for a conspiracy to foment insurrection. The US Supreme Court in the ex parte Milligan case had decided unanimously in April that civil rights were to be protected during martial law as long as civil courts were open; but the opinions were not released until December 17. Justice David Davis wrote,

Martial law, established on such a basis,
destroys every guarantee of the Constitution,
and effectually renders the “military independent of,
and superior to, the civil power.” …
Martial rule can never exist
where the courts are open and in the proper
and unobstructed exercise of their jurisdiction.39

      In both the ex parte Garland case that was argued in December 1865 and again in March 1866 with Cummings v. Missouri in which the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on 14 January 1867 that requiring oaths related to past behavior which prevented one from getting a job were unconstitutional.
      Johnson in his Second Annual Message to Congress on December 3 urged them to admit the “loyal members from the now unrepresented states.” He also discussed the financial condition of the Treasury which reduced the debt and the postal service, the workings of the departments of the Interior that disposed of 4,629,312 acres of public land, the War and Navy departments, and foreign policy. He hoped that the French would leave Mexico.
      War Secretary Stanton asked Rep. George Boutwell of Massachusetts to propose a bill prohibiting the President from issuing a military order that did not have the approval of the General of Army who was at that time Ulysses Grant. Thaddeus Stevens put it in the military bill which passed and was not vetoed because Johnson did not want to risk losing military funding.
      Georgia in December allowed businesses to hire convicts to exploit prisoners in chain-gangs.
      In the December Atlantic Monthly Frederick Douglass published “Reconstruction” writing,

No republic is safe that tolerates a privileged class,
or denies to any of its citizens equal rights
and equal means to maintain them.
What was theory before the war
has been made fact by the war….
The strange controversy between the President
and Congress, at one time so threatening,
is disposed of by the people.
The high reconstructive powers which he so confidently,
ostentatiously, and haughtily claimed, have been disallowed,
denounced, and utterly repudiated;
while those claimed by Congress have been confirmed.40

Douglass, Mrs. Stanton, and Henry Ward Beecher represented the American Equal Rights Association at a New York state constitutional convention at Albany in December to advocate eliminating the $250 property qualification for Negro suffrage and for the right of women to vote. Then Douglass went on a speaking tour to protect both races that the people asked for when they voted for a reconstruction policy. The black poet and activist Frances E. W. Harper spoke at that meeting and again at the continuation at Boston in June.
      The promise of giving 40 acres of confiscated land to the families of freed slaves was not carried out, though the Southern Homestead Act of 1866 gave 80 acres to each family regardless of race in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Florida.
      Alabama’s Gov. Robert M. Patton leased for six years the state’s 374 prisoners for $5 to the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad company which three years later made Patton their president. Texas leased 250 convicts to two railroads for $12.50 a month.
      Many refugees from slavery came to the capital Washington where prices for lodging had risen to $25 per month, but most jobs paid them less than $5 a month. Lewis Douglass, the oldest son of Frederick, earned $100 a month as a government clerk. Josephine Griffing and Sojourner Truth worked so that freed people could find jobs outside of Washington, and they helped the Freedmen’s Intelligence and Employment Agency and the National Freedmen’s Association find employment for 5,192 people in 1865 and 1866.
      In 1866 cholera killed about 50,000 Americans. New York lost 2,000 and established the first municipal board of health in the US. New York also had frequent epidemics of scarlet fever, smallpox, typhoid fever, and yellow fever that would become worse also in the next 7 years in Baltimore, Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington. Wholesale prices were depressed in the United States in 1866 and 1867.

United States & Red Cloud’s War 1865-66

      In response to the Sand Creek Massacre of about a thousand Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Lakota on 29 November 1864, these nations met at Cherry Creek in Kansas gathering a thousand warriors on 1 January 1865. Six days later at Julesburg on the Overland Trail they attacked about 110 US Army soldiers and armed civilians killing 14 soldiers and 4 civilians with few or no losses. Lakota and Southern Cheyenne led by the half-breed Cheyenne George Bent attacked US soldiers at Deer Creek Station on May 20. On June 8 about a hundred Indian allies raided Sage Creek Station and that area.
      On June 11 Captain William D. Fouts led 138 cavalry from Fort Laramie to move natives 300 miles to Fort Kearny in Nebraska. On the 14th the Oglala warrior Crazy Horse liberated the moving Lakota while killing five soldiers including Fouts. They wanted to protect their hunting grounds by stopping settlers from traveling on the Bozeman Trail. The Platte River Bridge was protected by 100 soldiers, and about 2,000 warriors led by Lakota Chief Red Cloud attacked them on July 26. They also fought at Red Butte and killed 29 soldiers. Bent reported that 8 Indians died, but other estimates were much higher.
      General Grenville Dodge ordered the Powder River Expedition, and Brigadier General Patrick Connor with 675 soldiers and Indian scouts left Fort Laramie on August 1 and had Fort Connor built on the Powder River by the 15th. Two days later Captain Frank Joshua North with three officers and 48 Pawnee scouts massacred 24 Cheyenne.
      On October 14 and 18 the US Government made treaties with native nations in the Plains. The seven men signing for the US included generals John Sanborn and William Harney, Col. J. H. Leavenworth, William Bent who was married to two Cheyenne women, and Kit Carson. Also signing were 6 Kiowa-Apache chiefs including Black Kettle, 6 Cheyenne led by Little Raven, 7 Arapahos, 11 Comanches, and 12 Kiowas. US representatives wanted the Santa Fe Trail to be safe and Indian territory limited. Chiefs demanded access to their hunting grounds and reparation for the massacre of Black Kettle’s band by Col. Chivington’s forces on 29 November 1864. The treaty released a few white captives taken by Satanta’s band; but major provisions were not implemented as both sides violated them.
      On 4 January 1866 Fort Richardson had been completed in Jacksonboro, Texas to help the US Cavalry fight Indians. On March 12 Chief Red Cloud and the Oglala arrived at Fort Laramie seeking a peace treaty. They began negotiating in June, but on the 13th Col. Henry Carrington arrived with about 1,300 infantry and equipment to build two forts by the Bozeman Trail. Red Cloud and other leaders left, but negotiations continued. The US Army offered the Lakota $70,000 per year and the Cheyenne $15,000 a year, but the US Senate never ratified the agreement.
      A war was fought over the Bozeman Trail where the US Army built and garrisoned Fort Reno, Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort C. F. Smith. After a peace conference at Fort Laramie failed on June 17 Col. Carrington with 700 soldiers and 300 civilians left the fort with many supplies, but he had no Indian scouts. Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho used guerrilla tactics against them. On July 13 Carrington’s men started building Fort Phil Kearny by Piney Creek. Three days later Chief Red Cloud with 500 warriors began a campaign against the forts and their equipment. On July 20 Red Cloud led warriors who attacked a wagon train by the Powder River. There were 15 more attacks near Fort Phil Kearny in the next two months, and the Indians stole hundreds of horses, mules, and cattle.
      About 1,500 warriors had gathered at Red Cloud’s camp by the Tongue River on September 1. On November 25 General Philip St. George Cooke ordered Col. Carrington to direct offensive attacks. In the Idaho Territory on December 21 Chief Red Cloud and Crazy Horse with about 1,000 Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho lured a US force of 80 men, most of whom were on foot for lack of horses, led by Captain Fetterman from Fort Phil Kearney, into an ambush and wiped them out while losing about 40 warriors. The Indians dispersed during the cold winter as the soldiers suffered frostbite.


1. U. S. Statues at Large, Vol. XIII, p. 507.
2. Life of Andrew Johnson by John Savage, p. 26-36 in Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Lloyd Paul Stryker, p. 64.
3. In Lincoln’s Footsteps: The Life of Andrew Johnson by Bill Severn, p. 88.
4. Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Lloyd Paul Stryker, p. 165.
5. The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865-1896 by Richard White, p. 35-36.
6. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson by David O. Stewart, p. 17.
7. The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands, p. 384.
4. Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Lloyd Paul Stryker, p. 165.
8. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois, p. 77.
9. Ibid., p. 182.
10. Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Lloyd Paul Stryker, p. 216.
11. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois, p. 201-202.
12. The Republic for Which It Stands by Richard White, p. 40.
13. Great Issues in American History From Reconstruction to the Present Day, 1864-1969 ed. Richard Hofstadter, p. 21-22.
14. Reminiscences, Vol. 3, by Carl Schurz, p. 175 in Impeached; The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart, p. 31.
15. “Johnson and the Negro” by Lawanda Cox and John H. Cox in Reconstruction: An Anthology of Revisionist Writings ed. Kenneth M. Stampp, p. 65-66.
16. New York Herald, Supplement, December 13, 1865 in The Annals of America, Volume 9, p. 611.
17. Ibid.
18. Grant by Jean Edward Smith, p. 422.
19. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moses Jr., p. 228.
20. Andrew Johnson: A Profile (1969), “Johnson and the Negro,” by Lawanda Cox and John H. Cox, p. 141.
21. The Annals of America, Volume 9, p, 622.
22. Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 by W. E. B. Du Bois, p. 261.
23. Thaddeus Stevens by Samuel W. McCall, p. 258 in Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Stryker, p. 233.
24. Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1908 ed. James D. Richardson, Volume 6, p. 356, 358, 360.
25. In Lincoln’s Footsteps: The Life of Andrew Johnson by Bill Severn, p. 147.
26. Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 by Eric Foner, p. 243.
27. Grant by Ron Chernow, p. 568.
28. Sumner, Charles, Works, X, p. 236-7.
29. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass by Philip S. Foner, Volume 4, p. 190.
30. New York Herald, February 23, 1866 in The Annals of America, Volume 10, p. 8.
31. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson by Gene Smith, p. 159.
32. Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 6, p. 412.
33. Ibid., p. 413.
34. The First Woman in the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child by Carolyn L. Karcher, p. 493.
35. Documents of American History ed. Henry Steele Commager, p. 469.
36. Trial by Fire: A People’s History of the Civil War and Reconstruction by Page Smith, p. 708.
37. Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage by Lloyd Paul Stryker, p. 324-325.
38.Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Vol. 6, p. 438.
39. Documents of American History ed. Henry Steele Commager, p. 474, 476.
40. The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass by Philip S. Foner, Volume 4, p. 200, 202.

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