Reprinted in full in "Gen. Thomas' Command Important Orders: The Treatment of Colored People By the Rebels," New York Times, July 29, 1865, p. 1.
John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Headquarters, Department of the Cumberland, Nashville, Tenn, July 21, 1865.
GENERAL ORDER No. 9.
A careful investigation into the facts connected with a complaint recently made to these headquarters, by William Andrews, Mayor of the City of Columbia, Tenn., and Justice of the Peace in behalf of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Columbia, and the Court of Maury County, in which the military authorities of the United States are accused of unwarrantable and unjustifiable interference with the civil authorities, has developed the following:
On or about June 24, two colored girls, pupils in the colored school in Columbia, were arrested upon a charge of trespass and assault and battery, and, in default of bail in the sum of $500 each, were committed to the County Jail, and locked up in cells, in solitary confinement, to await trial before the Circuit Court of Maury County, which, it is understood, is not to sit for several months.
It appears that the trespass consisted in getting some plums froma tree growing on a common belonging to a citizen of Columbia, but not inclosed. The assault and battery was rather the repelling of an assault made upon the girls by a white woman, who threw "rocks" at them, and they replied with one boulder, which, however, did not take effect upon the attacking party.
The bail exacted was exhorbitant and illegal, as only $250 could by law be exacted, and the Justice of the Peace who committed the girls to jail afterward, upon being advised by the Attorney-General that his action was wholly without warrant of law, released one of the girls unconditionally, and reduced the bail of the other to $250.
Upon the investigation, the aforesaid Justice, F.H. Welch, utterly failed to justify his own action in the premises, but alleged that he had acted upon the advice of Mayor Andrews.
It further appears that there has been a systematic course of persecution practiced by the civil authorities and disloyal people of Columbia toward the freedmen, and especially toward the colored school which has lately been established there, and this to the disgust and dissatisfaction of the truly loyal citizens of the place, who would prefera strictly military rule to leaving all authority in the hands of their present civil officers.
This, taken in connection with the fact that, in 1864, it became necessary for the Major-General commanding to order the arrest of Mr. Andrews aforesaid, for causing a black man to be scourged with twenty-five lashes on his bare back, in the City of Columbia, for the crime of teaching a class of colored children to read, induces the belief that the crusade against the school-girls was inaugurated by the chivalrous Mayor for the purpose of breaking up the school.
It further appears that in April last, a duly authorized agent of the United States Treasury Department took possession of, as confiscable property, a storage-house in Columbia, Tenn., the property of one Wm. Galloway, an active rebel, and who at that time was a prisoner of the North, and that said property was leased to Felix G. Young, a Union man, at a monthly rate of $25 per month, which rent was duly paid monthly in advance for the months of April, May and June.
On or about the 1st day of June, the Treasury Agent was called upon by Mr. Galloway, who had returned, to release his property to him. He was informed of the condition under which it was held, and if he wished the property released he should make application to Washington. Not satisfied, apparently to attempt the recovery of his property in this, the proper manner, in the absence of the Treasury Agent Galloway, by threats, misrepresentations and annoyance, caused Mr. Young to vacate the premises, and sold the store to one Mays and placed Mays in possession. He then instituted a suit before a Justice (F.H. Welch aforesaid) for the rent from the time he had occupied under the lease from the United States.
The parties refused to surrender the store to the Treasury Agent, and he was compelled to call upon the military authorities for assistance to aid in getting possession of the same. The suit for rent came, and Mr. Young presented, as evidence, his lease, duly executed, &c., and the Tresury Agent testified to his authority, execution of the document, and receipt of rent from Young. Justice Welch, however, rendereda judgement against Mr. Young in favor of Galloway, the rebel owner. Galloway was counseled and assisted in this procedure by one M.S. Frierson, a lawyer, whose intense zeal for the rebellion was shown by his taking an oath at the onset that he would not cut his hair until the Confederacy was established, and, for a long time, he walked the streets with his hair streaming half way down his back. He is the same lawyer who conducted the prosecution of the girls for trespass and assault and battery, mentioned in the foregoing part of this order. He is a malignant rebel, and devotes his time and talents to petty litigation, the object of which is two-fold: First, to oppose the negroes, and second, to bring the military and other authorities of the government into comtempt. He is now under indictment for treason, but is at large on bail.
Welch, the Justice, though a rebel in sympathy, is a man of limited information and of but little influence, and if left to himself, would probably do little harm, but is an official in the hands of a number of bad men in Columbia, among whom are Andrews, Galloway and Frierson. Galloway bears the reputation of a man destitute of principle, honor and loyalty. He was formerly a note-shaver and negro-trader.
Galloway is the active man, Andrews and Frierson the counselors, and Welch the instrument. This is the condition which has set itself up in defiance of the authority of the United States, and has threatened its officers. These are the officials who, in the garb of officers of the law and administrators of justice, have degraded themselves to the position of prosecutors of school girls, and the whippers of school teachers.
This malignant, rebellious spirit which they have displayed, by the persecution of the weak and helpless, and on account of their ignorance of or wilful violation of law, they have shown themselves to be persons dangerous to the peace of the community and unworthy to longer so grossly misrepresent law and justice.
It is therefore ordered that William H. Anderson, Mayor of the City of Columbia and Justice of the Peace, and F.H. Welch, Justice of the Peace, be suspended from the exercise of their functions as civil officers until further orders, which will be issued when they have given proof that they possess some humanity, and show a willingness to conform to the laws of the United States and of the State in which they live.
M.S. Frierson and William Galloway will be arrested, sent to this place, and turned over to the Provost-Marshal-General of this military division for confinement in the military prison, for such further disposition as should be made in the cases of rebels who still maintain an attitude of defiance to the United States, and cannot appreciate the kindness of the government in relieving them from the prison to which their former crimes consigned them.
The commanding officer of the post of Columbia is charged with the execution of this order.
By command of
Wm. D. Whipple, A.A.G.