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. More than a few officers, fearing civilian retribution, demanded speedy clarification, often wondering whether martial law still held in there areas, especially where it has been protecting the rights and lives of newly emancipated slaves. Such was the confusion that after three weeks of discussion, Brigadier General Townsend, Adjutant General at the War Office, was forced to issue a general order outlining the ramifications of the proclamation for military commands in the South. (By John Osborne)
War Department, General Order 26, Washington, DC, May 1, 1866
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