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Brigadier General Edward D. Townsend to Major General Oliver O. Howard, Washington, D.C., April 17, 1866

Edward Davis Townsend, detail
President Andrew Johnson's April 2, 1866 proclamation that the rebellion was at an end, encouraged local Southern politicians and confused Union troops occupying the region. Several local Union commanders had requested immediate clarification, wondering whether martial law still held in their areas, especially where it has been protecting the rights and lives of newly emancipated slaves. Brigadier General Townsend, Adjutant General at the War Office, here responds succinctly that martial law still ran but from now on where civilian courts were deemed more appropriate in dealing with civilian offences they should be used. (By John Osborne)