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HEADQUARTERS, THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, (Department of Georgia, Florida & Alabama,)

General Orders

No. 6.

Atlanta, Georgia, January 10, 1868.

I. Whereas, The Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama, recently in session at Montgomery, in that State, adopted the following ordinance:

"An ordinance to stay collection of Debts.

Be it Ordained by the people of Alabama in Convention Assembled, That when any writ of execution, venditioni exponus, or other legal process, requiring the sale of property, shall be, or has been issued from any court of this State, it is made the duty of the officer to whom delivered for collection, to return the said writ or other process to the proper court, with his endorsement thereon, 'Returned by operation of Law,' dated and signed by him. This ordinance to remain in full force until the 1st day of January, 1869; Provided, This ordinance shall not apply to judgments in favor of laborers and mechanics for services rendered since July 21, 1865."

And Whereas, the passage of this ordinance which was intended to afford relief to debtors in that State has, on the contrary, caused increased distress to them by occasioning very numerous attempts to evade its provisions by forcing sales under execution in the interval between the time of its passage and of its taking effect; and whereas, such sales, in the present unsettled condition of affairs in the State of Alabama, and in consequence of the low price of cotton, result in such sacrifices of property as are ruinous to debtors and of but little benefit to creditors; and whereas, the people of that State have no method of enforcing their will, as expressed in said ordinance, until after the ratification of the constitution framed by said convention which has been submitted to them for their ratification or rejection on the 4th day of February next.

II. Therefore, by virtue of the plenary powers invested by the reconstruction acts of Congress in the Commanding General of the Third Military District, and for the temporary relief of the people of the State of Alabama;

It is ordered: That said ordinance shall from this date be deemed to have taken effect in said State and shall continue in full force and validity, until the result of said election on the ratification of said constitution shall have been ascertained and published from these Headquarters; the force of this order then to cease should said constitution be rejected. But should said constitution be adopted by the people, this order shall continue in force until such constitution shall have been

submitted to Congress for examination and approval as provided for in said reconstruction acts, and until Congress shall have approved or rejected said Constitution.

III. It is further directed that this order be respected and obeyed by the several civil officers, Judicial and otherwise in the State of Alabama.

By order of Major General MEADE:

(Signed) R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant General.

(Orders, of a similar character, were issued for the States of Georgia & Florida.)

HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, (Department of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.)

General Orders,

No. 10.


Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 1868.

The frequency of reported outrages, and the accompanying expression of opinion of subordinate officers, that no justice is to be expected from the civil authorities, require notice and action on the part of the Major General Commanding.

I. The Commanding General desires it to be understood that the trial and punishment of criminals is to be left to the civil authorities, so long as the said authorities are energetic, active, and do justice to the rights of person and property without distinction of race or color. Whenever the Major General Commanding is satisfied from evidence produced that the civil authorities fail to do their duty then prompt action will be taken by him both for the punishment of criminals and the removal from office of derelict civil officers.

II. The military are to co-operate with, and aid the civil authorities in the detection, capture, and custody of criminals, and they are further authorized in cases where they have reason to believe the civil authorities are not disposed to do their duty, to retain criminals in custody until the fact becomes evident whether the civil authorities will, or will not perform their duty-immediately reporting their acton on all such cases to these Headquarters.

III.-Writs of habeas corpus issued against criminals in the custody of the military will be obeyed so far as to produce the body of the prisoner in court, and the making of a respectful return setting forth the grounds and authority by which the prisoner is held-should the court fail to respect the authority under which the prisoner is held-the custody of the criminal will not be transferred to the court without a reference to these Headquarters.

IV. The Major General desires to impress on the officers under his command the exercise of a sound discretion and good judgment. It is his determination to afford the civil authorities every opportunity to discharge their duties untrammelled by any action on the part of the military, but such as they, the civil authorities, may invite and desire. He

makes this public notice to the civil authorities that they may be governed thereby-assuring them they shall be respected in the exercise of their powers so long as impartial justice is meted out to all; but the Commanding General is determined to exercise to the fullest extent the plenary powers with which he is entrusted to secure protection of persons and property in the District he commands.

By order of Major General MEADE:

(Signed) R. C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant General.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD MILITARY DISTRICT, (Department of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.) Atlanta, Georgia, February 2, 1868.

General Orders

No. 22.

Numerous applications having been made to the Major General Commanding, relative to the provisions and the execution of General Orders No. 49, series of 1867, from these Headquarters, and being satisfied from reports and representations that, in some instances, the operations of the order have proved embarrassing and of an effect not designed when it was issued -the intention having been to prevent by prompt and ener getic action the use of official patronage to obstruct, hinder and delay reconstruction under the Acts of Congress-he therefore directs that the aforesaid order be modified to read as follows:

I.—The giving of all advertisements and other official publications heretofore or hereafter to be provided for by State or municipal laws or ordinances, by the civil officers whose duty it is to cause such publications to be made, is prohibited, to such newspapers and such only, as attempt to obstruct in any manner the civil officers appointed by the military officers in this District in the discharge of their duties by threats of violence, of prosecution or other penalty as soon as the military protection is withdrawn for acts performed in their official capacity.

II.-If in any of the counties in either of the States in this District, there be but one newspaper published, civil officers, whose duty it is to advertise in accordance with law, are authorized to advertise in said paper regardless of the provisions of paragraph I of this order.

III.-All officers in this Military District, whether military or civil, and all boards of registration, or other persons in the employment of the United States under military jurisdiction, are directed to give prompt attention to the enforcement of this order. Opposition to Reconstruction, when conducted in a legitimate manner, is not to be considered an offence; but will be so considered when accompanied by violent and incendiary articles threatening the preservation of the peace, or by attempts to obstruct civil officers, as indicated in paragraph

I of this order. Should any civil officer violate the provisions of this order, the case will be promptly reported to these Headquarters.

IV. This order is not to be construed as affecting advertisements being published at the date of the order, or prior to its receipt by the civil officer who is affected thereby.

By order of Major General Meade :


Assistant Adjutant General

(Department of Georgia, Florida and Alabama.)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, February 22, 1868.

General Orders,

No. 27.

I. The Constitutional Convention of the State of Georgia, now in session in the city of Atlanta, adopted on the 19th day of February, 1868, the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, The Convention has determined that there shall be no imprisonment for debt in the State; and whereas, creditors are oppressing debtors by the use of what is known as "Bail Process" and writ of ca. sa., Therefore,

Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention, said proceedings are contrary to the wish of the people of this State. Resolved, That the General Commaning this District, is hereby requested to protect, by order, the people of this State from the evil above set forth, and that such order remain in force, until such time as the people have expressed their will in regard to the Constitution.

II. Therefore, by virtue of the plenary powers vested by the Reconstruction Acts of Congress in the Commanding General of the Third Military District, and for the purpose of giving effect to the wishes of the people of Georgia, as expressed by their delegates in Convention,

It is ordered: That imprisonment for debt is prohibited in the State of Georgia, and hereafter no bail process in civil cases or writ of ca. sa. shall be issued out of any of the courts of this State.

III. Every person now in prison in this State under any such process or writ, will be immediately discharged from prison.

IV. This order to remain in force until the people of Georgia shall express their will in the manner provided by the Acts of Congress in regard to the constitution to be submitted to them by the said Constitutional Convention, or until further orders from these Headquarters.


(Signed) R. C. DRUM,

Assistant Adjutant General.

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