Texas During The Civil War

Louis J. Wortham, A HISTORY OF TEXAS: FROM WILDERNESS TO COMMONWEALTH, Volume 4, Chapter LX, Worthham-Molyneaux Company, Fort Worth, Texas 1924

DURING the period between the submission of the secession ordinance to the people of Texas for approval and the date on which the ordinance went into effect, a group of seceded states, in convention at Montgomery, Ala., organized the Confederate States of America. A constitution was drafted and on February 9 Jefferson Davis of Mississippi was elected president of the new federal republic thus brought into being. Texas was received as a state of the Confederacy immediately after the final adjournment of the secession convention and members of the first congress and two senators were elected from Texas. Louis T. Wigfall and William S. Oldham were the senators named and President Davis appointed John H. Reagan as a member of his cabinet, assigning him to the portfolio of postmaster general. Thus was the plan of "peaceful secession" carried out and thus did Texas take her place in the Confederacy.

But the secession of the Southern states was not to remain peaceful very long. Lincoln was inaugurated president of the United States on March 4, and he and his cabinet took the position that the states had no power to sever their connection with the Union in this fashion and that the authority of the United States government over them would be maintained. The Confederate government, on the other hand, decided that all United States troops must leave Confederate territory. It was this situation which brought about the fatal clash which ushered in the war between the two sections. There was some talk at first of attempting to compose the differences between the South and the Federal government, but this was without result. Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, S. C., was occupied by United States troops and a formal demand for its surrender was made by the Confederate authorities. The demand was refused and on April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on the fort. Two days later Fort Sumter was surrendered to the Confederacy, and the next day, April 15, President Lincoln issued a call for volunteers to "preserve the Union" by force of arms. The war was on!

The struggle thus commenced lasted four years and resulted in the defeat and total prostration of the Southern states. During its progress slavery was abolished by presidential proclamation as a "war measure" and after its close the federal constitution was amended, forever prohibiting slavery in all the states and giving the former slaves the status of citizens. The Southern states lost all for which they contended and the economic system upon which the prosperity of the South rested was totally destroyed. The wealth of the Federal government and the superiority of numbers on the side of the North were too much to overcome. Before the struggle ended the Northern states had put more than two million men into the field, whereas the Southern states, by drawing upon their population to the utmost, were not able to muster as many as a million. It was one of the most terrible conflicts in history, especially in view of the fact that it was fought by men of the same blood and of the same country. The whole world stood aghast at the spectacle.

Today, only a little more than a half-century after its close, the descendants of the men who participated in that conflict are a united people and constitute the greatest nation in the world. The nation’s wounds have long since healed and the scars which they have left now serve to knit the American people more closely together than ever. And the heroic struggle which the men of the South made to defend their right to govern themselves and to resist the tyranny of government of one section of the country by another is as much a heritage of the whole American people as the struggle of the men of the North to preserve the Union. The lesson of the South’s resistance has been learned by the whole nation and the blood poured out for the "lost cause" was not shed in vain. For it was not nationalism in government that the South resisted. It was sectionalism. Whether the danger of sectional rule was as great as the men of the South believed it to be is a question which may be left open. In any event it was believed to be great enough to warrant resistance to the point of prostration. And today it is an integral part of American tradition that sectional tyranny, no matter by which section it may be threatened, should be resisted with like courage and that the right of self-government should be maintained with like devotion. That is the contribution which the Southern men who died on the battlefields of the war made to American ideals. That is the gift of the South to the nation.

Texas played a part in the war of which this and all future generations of Texans may be justly proud. Its people gave their full measure of courage and devotion to the cause. The commonwealth which, in the short space of forty years, had developed from a little group of three hundred families in the midst of a complete wilderness, sent more than seventy thousand men to the defense of the bonnie blue banner of the Confederacy. One hundred and thirty-five officers above the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate army were from Texas. Among these was one full general, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who fell at Shiloh in April, 1862; one lieutenant-general, John B. Hood; three major-generals, Samuel B. Maxey, John A. Wharton and Tom Green, the latter killed at Blair’s Landing in April, 1864; thirty-two brigadier-generals and ninety-seven colonels. Of the thirty-eight generals of the above grades, thirty-three were promoted during their service from lower rank. This fact in itself is a tribute to the mass of the soldiers from Texas, for it was the exploits of the men which won promotion for the officers who led them. Besides this, Texas contributed an enormous quota of military supplies and provisions for the armies of the South. The state government spent more than three and a half million dollars at home for military purposes and paid more than thirty-seven million dollars of taxes, in Confederate notes, to the Confederate government. The whole population was put on a war basis throughout the conflict and all of the state’s resources were unreservedly drawn upon to the limit to support the cause of the South.

News of the firing on Fort Sumter was received at Austin on April 17, 1861, and immediately Governor Clark took steps to prepare for the war. He provided for the organization, equipment and instruction of volunteer companies in every county in the state. Lieut.Col. John R. Baylor took possession of the army posts west of San Antonio, occupying the Rio Grande into New Mexico. Col. William C. Young raised a cavalry regiment and captured Forts Arbuckle, Washita and Cobb, in the Indian territory beyond Red river, and compelled the Federals to retire into Kansas. A clash occurred between Texas forces and the Federals concentrated on the coast from the various Posts, before the state was completely free of United States troops, but finally the embarkation of the latter was accomplished.

Governor Clark required all the ammunition carried in stock by merchants to be turned over to the state, but the amount was not very great. Officers in each county were directed to ascertain the quantity of arms in the possession of private individuals, with the result that forty thousand guns of every description were reported. Thirty-two brigadier-generals were appointed to organize the militia, one for each militia district. In short everything possible was done to put the state in a condition of defense.

Within a week after the fall of Fort Sumter the Confederate government made requisition on Texas for eight thousand infantry and these were promptly furnished. In July Texas was called upon for twenty companies for service in Virginia, the enlistment to be for the period of the war, and thirty-two companies responded. They later became famous as Hood’s Texas Brigade. In his message to the legislature on November 1, 1861, Governor Clark reported that "twenty thousand Texans are now battling for the rights of our new-born government."

The regular state election was held in Texas in August 2 1861, while the war fever was at its height. Francis R. Lubbock was elected governor on a platform declaring for unstinted support of the Confederacy in the prosecution of the war. Lubbock carried out his campaign pledge in this respect with a zeal that earned the undying gratitude of the much-harassed and perplexed Confederate officials. Before his inauguration as governor, Lubbock made a special journey to the seat of the Confederate government at Richmond, Va., to confer with President Davis and his cabinet on the question of how Texas could best serve the cause of the South. Lubbock realized that success depended upon quick and decisive action, for delay would mean that the superiority of numbers in the North would be felt in the contest. Upon taking up the reins of the government, therefore, he urged upon every able-bodied man to enlist. It was now clear that the struggle was to be of greater proportions than anybody had dreamed, and Lubbock did all in his power to place the whole strength of Texas behind the Confederacy. Compared with other Southern states Texas was safe against invasion by the Federal forces, and the battles fought in other states were keeping Union soldiers from Texan soil. It was fitting, therefore, in Lubbock’s opinion, that every able-bodied man in the state should join the armies of the South. He succeeded in this effort to such an extent that within fifteen months more than 68,000 Texans were under arms.

"From the most accurate data," he said in his message to an extra session of the legislature on February 5, 1863, "Texas has furnished to the Confederate military service thirty-three regiments, thirteen battalions, two squadrons, six detached companies, and one legion of twelve companies of cavalry; nineteen regiments, two battalions of infantry, and one regiment and twelve light batteries of artillery—thirty regiments of which (twenty-one cavalry and nine infantry) have been organized since the requisition of February 3, 1862, for fifteen regiments, being the quota required of Texas to make her quota equal to the quota of other states, making 62,000 men, which with the state troops in actual service, viz., 6,500 men, form an aggregate of 68,500 Texans in military service, constituting an excess of 4,773 more than her highest popular vote, which was 63,727. From the best information within reach of this department, upon which to base an estimate of the men now remaining in the state between the ages of sixteen and sixty years, it is thought that the number will not exceed 27,000."

In spite of all this there were calls for more men from Texas, and in November, 1863, Governor Lubbock suggested to the legislature that no exemptions from the operation of the draft law, which had been previously put into effect, should be permitted. He said that every male person, from sixteen years old and upwards, not totally unfit, should be declared to be in the military service of the state and no exemptions should be allowed, except those recognized by the constitution, and that no one should be permitted to furnish a substitute. "I am clearly of the opinion," he declared, "that exemptions and the right to furnish substitutes are working great injury to the country, and should be abolished, both by the state and Confederate government."

It was thus that Texas strained every nerve to give the Confederate government all support possible; and, in addition to this, Texas had a vast frontier to protect against the Indians. Under the Confederate constitution the protection of the frontier was the duty of the Confederate government, just as it had been the duty of the Federal government under the Union. But Governor Lubbock recognized that the central government had more than it could do to meet the demands of the war, and he excused it from supplying troops. It was expected that the Confederate government would defray the expense of such frontier protection, however, but this expectation, of course, was never fulfilled.

Brig.-Gen. P. 0. Hebert was placed in command of the military department of Texas by the Confederate government, and some of his measures caused much resentment among the people. By an order issued on May 30, 1862, he put the state under martial law, practically usurping the powers of the state government. He appointed a number of provost marshals, whose powers were almost unlimited and who were responsible only to him, and the acts of some of these petty officers exasperated the people. In November, 1862, General Hebert issued another order which increased this discontent. It prohibited the exportation of cotton, except by the authorized agents of the government. Texas ports were blockaded by the United States navy from July, 1861, until the end of the war, and Mexico was the only outlet for Texas cotton. The new order increased the difficulties of the people of the state with respect to sale of their cotton and it was very widely resented. On November 29,1862, Brig.-Gen. J. Bankhead Magruder succeeded General Hebert, and it was thought that the change would improve conditions. But within a few months General Magruder issued a new order, imposing additional restrictions upon the exportation of cotton across the Rio Grande. The outcry against this order became so great that in April, 1863, all cotton orders were revoked and for a short time planters were permitted to export cotton without restriction. New restrictions, however, were soon placed upon the cotton trade, but they were not so severe as those which Hebert and Magruder had previously put into effect.

The war and the blockade brought about an economic revolution in Texas, for both the exportation and importation of goods stopped altogether, except for the limited trading that could be done through Mexico and by "blockade runners." The absence of most of the able-bodied men in the army threw the whole burden of providing the necessities of life upon the women, who, with the assistance of the slaves, produced both food and clothing from the raw material to the finished products. "By the first of 1862," says 0. M. Roberts, "the people in most parts of the state set about providing themselves with the necessaries of life. From that time to the end of the war a person traveling past houses on the road could hear the sound of the spinningwheel and of the looms at which the women were at work to supply clothing for their families and for their husbands and sons in the army. Thus while the men were struggling valiantly with all their martial efforts in camp and in battle, the work of the women was no less heroic and patriotic in their homes. Nor was that kind of employment all; for many a wife or daughter of a soldier went out on the farm and bravely did the work with plow and hoe to make provisions for herself and little children. Shops were extensively established to manufacture domestic implements. Wheat and other cereals were produced, where practicable, in large quantities; hogs and cattle were raised more generally; and before the passage over the Mississippi was closed by the Federal gunboats, droves of beef cattle and numerous wagonloads of bacon and flour were almost constantly passing across the river from Texas to feed the soldiers of the Confederate army.

"An almost universally humane feeling inspired people of wealth as well as those in moderate circumstances to help the indigent families of soldiers in the field and the women who had lost their husbands and sons by sickness or in battle. There were numerous slaveholders who had only a few slaves, such as had been raised by themselves or by their parents as part of the family, and so regarded themselves. In the absence of the husband in the service, the wife . . . assumed the management of the farm and the control of the negroes on it. It was a subject of general remark that the negroes were more docile and manageable during the war than at any other period, and. for this they deserve the lasting gratitude of their owners in the army. . . .

"At most of the towns there were posts established officers for the collection of the tithes of farm products under an act of congress for the use of the army, and wagons were used continually for their transportation to different places where the soldiers were in service. In addition, wagons under private control were constantly running from Texas to Arkansas and to Louisiana loaded with clothing, hats and shoes, contributed by families for their relatives in the army in those states. Indeed, by this patriotic method the greater part of the Texas troops in those states were supplied with clothing of all kinds.

"Salt being a prime necessity for family use, salt works were established in eastern Texas in Cherokee and Smith counties, and at Grand Saline in Van Zandt county. . . . In the west, salt was furnished from the salt lakes. Iron works were established for making plows and cooking vessels near Jefferson, Rusk and Austin. . . . At jug factories in Rusk and Henderson counties were made rude earthenware dishes, plates and cups. . . . At other shops wagons were made and repaired, and in small domestic factories chairs, tables and other furniture were made. Shoe shops and tailor shops were kept busy all over the country. Substitutes for sugar and coffee were partially adopted, but without much success. . . .

"The penitentiary at Huntsville, under the control of the state government, was busied in manufacturing cotton and woolen cloth, and made each year over a million and a half yards of cloth, which, under the direction of the government, was distributed first to supply the soldiers of the army, second to the soldiers’ families and their actual consumers."

The factory at the Huntsville penitentiary was not the only activity of the state government in the matter of manufacturing. A military board, composed of the governor, comptroller and treasurer, took charge of a good part of the commerce of the state and established a gun and a cap factory at Austin. It encouraged the establishment of other factories by private individuals and was generally active in maintaining the economic organization of the state. One of its memorable achievements was the importation of forty thousand pairs of cotton and wool cards from Europe, which it distributed to families throughout Texas to be used in the home manufacture of cotton and woolen cloth. It purchased cotton from the farmers, through its agents, and exported it to Mexico, using the proceeds to buy arms, munitions and machinery. The total amounts received and disbursed by this board have been estimated at two million dollars.

In the very nature of things there was much destitution and privation among the families of the soldiers, and relief of these soon became a problem. At first the counties afforded relief, but the burden became too great for local resources and in 1863 the legislature, in response to a recommendation by Governor Lubbock, appropriated six hundred thousand dollars for state relief of the dependents of soldiers. The practice thus started was kept up during the remainder of the war. Near the end of 1864 the number of dependants assisted by the state, including women and children, was about seventy-four thousand.

As has been indicated, Texas was well-nigh free from military operations by the enemy throughout the period of the war. The state proved to be impregnable against invasion and the attempts made by the Federals failed. These attempts were directed at four points. Galveston, at Sabine Pass, at Brownsville and by way of Red River-but in each case no important progress was made. On October 4, 1862, the Federals who had been maintaining the blockade of the gulf coast made an attack on Galveston. The Confederate troops on the island were not strong enough to put up a defense, so they withdrew, without a struggle, to the mainland. The town of Galveston thus fell into the hands of the Federals, but it was not to remain in their possession long. When General Magruder assumed command of Texas two months later, one of the first things he determined upon was the recapture of Galveston. Preparations were secretly made for an expedition against the island. Two steamboats, the Neptune and Bayou City, on Buffalo bayou, were converted into "cottonclads" by erecting breastworks of cotton bales around their decks, and these were manned by Sibley’s brigade, a body of tried troops, under command of Gen. H. H. Sibley, which had just returned from a campaign in New Mexico. Two other vessels, the Lucy Gwinn and the John F. Carr, were put into service as tenders. On December 29, 1862, General Magruder arrived at Virginia Point to direct the expedition in person. The plan of attack was for Magruder and a body of land forces to enter the town of Galveston from the mainland, while the boats under command of Sibley engaged the Federal vessels by sea. There were four Federal vessels in the harbor, the steamer Harriet Lane, which was at the wharf; the brig Westfield, the gun boat Owassee, and the transport Clifton. On the night of December 31 the movement was begun. Magruder and the land forces proceeded from Virginia Point to the island and took a position in the town, in preparation for an early morning attack next day. Before daybreak on New Year’s day, 1863, Magruder opened fire on the Federals and drove them to the extreme northern end of the island. The cottonclads, in the meantime, arrived in the harbor and attacked the Harriet Lane. The Confederate boat Neptune was sunk in shallow water, but the Bayou City approached the Harriet Lane so close that she became entangled in the latter’s rigging. The Confederates leaped on board the Federal vessel and a hand-to-hand struggle ensued. After a stubborn resistance, during which the principal officers of the Harriet Lane were killed, the Federals surrendered. The Westfield, in attempting to leave the harbor, ran aground and, in order to prevent her from falling into the hands of the Confederates a train was laid to blow up the vessel and the crew abandoned her. There was some delay in the explosion and fifteen Federals were sent back on board to investigate and remedy the defect. They had no sooner reached the Westfield than the explosion occurred, and all of the party were killed. The Federals on the island surrendered to Magruder and the Owassee and the Clifton escaped from the harbor and joined the fleet outside. Thus Galveston was recaptured in brilliant fashion. Col. Tom Green, Colonel Steele, Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry, Col. William P. Hardeman and Col. H. M. Elmore distinguished themselves in this expedition. General Magruder and all who took part in the exploit were especially thanked by President Davis for restoring Galveston to the Confederacy.

In September, 1863, the Federals made the second attempt to gain a foothold in Texas. An expedition was organized in New Orleans, which was in possession of the Federals, and an army of five thousand men was sent by sea to enter Texas by way of Sabine Pass. The plan was then to advance on Beaumont and Houston and, with those two places in Federal hands, Galveston would be taken as a matter of course. Sabine Pass was guarded by a little garrison of forty-seven men, under command of Lieut. Dick Dowling, and it seemed an easy matter to overcome this small force and then proceed with the campaign. Accordingly, on September 6, 1863, three or four of the Federal vessels entered the harbor and commenced bombarding the fort which was manned by Dowling’s little garrison. Dowling waited until the Federal vessels came within good range and then opened fire on them. In a few minutes two of the Federal boats, the Sachem and the Clifton, were disabled, and the others left the harbor quickly to escape a similar fate. The two disabled boats, their crews, consisting of three hundred and fifty men, and all their armaments were captured. The rest of the Federal fleet sailed back to New Orleans without making further attempt to effect a landing. Dick Dowling’s defense of Sabine Pass was one of the brilliant exploits of the war; not only because of its entire success against such overwhelming odds, but because it undoubtedly saved Texas from a formidable invasion which might have made the state the scene of an extended campaign.

The third attempt to invade Texas was more successful, but it caused no inconvenience to the thickly settled parts of the state. Indeed, its purpose was not primarily to subjugate Texas. The French had just seized Mexico and, inasmuch as the United States, under the Monroe doctrine, was opposed to French plans in connection with that seizure, it was feared by the Federal government that France might join forces with the Confederacy and thus complicate the war. In order to prevent any direct assistance from the French through Mexico, the Federals decided to occupy the Texas coast near the Mexican border. In November 5, 1863, therefore, an army of six thousand Federals, under General Banks, took possession of Brownsville, the small force of Confederates there retiring without resistance. During the next two months Banks extended his operations by occupying Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Mustang island, Pass Cavallo, St. Joseph’s island, Indianola and Lavaca. After the French scare passed off, however, it was decided to attempt an invasion of Texas by way of Red river, and all of the Federal forces along the southern coast were withdrawn, except a small body of troops which occupied Brownsville. An expedition started from New Orleans with the idea of invading East Texas, but it was defeated by Confederate forces before reaching the Texas border. Later the small force at Brownsville was withdrawn and Texas remained free from the menace of Federal invasion during the rest of the war.

Governor Lubbock was offered a place on the staff of President Davis when his term of office should expire, and he announced, therefore, that he would not be a candidate for reelection. Two candidates appeared as aspirants to succeed him, these being Pendleton Murrah and T. J. Chambers. Murrah received 17,511 votes, Chambers 12,455, and 1,070 votes were cast for unimportant candidates. Murrah was inaugurated on November 5, 1863, the day Banks took Brownsville. He came into office at a time when the fortunes of war had begun to go against the Confederacy, and when the feeling of the people of Texas had begun to change. At the beginning of the war the great mass of the people cheerfully and enthusiastically sustained the newly-formed Confederacy and promptly submitted to every law and every order deemed necessary to success. "A great majority," writes Thrall, "looked upon the establishment of the Confederacy as an accomplished fact; and believed that its recognition by the governments of Europe, and the United States itself, was only a question of time. But the events of two years—the surrender of New Orleans in 1862, and the fall of Vicksburg in 1863, began to beget doubts of final success. Again—at first the farmers obeyed, without a protest, the various ‘cotton orders’ as they were issued from ‘headquarters.’ But observation of the working of these changing ‘orders’ created a suspicion that they operated to the injury of the planter, and inured more to the benefit of speculators than the Confederate government; and this without impugning the motives of the commanding generals. Again, the conscript law and the confiscation laws were enforced a little too vigorously. Some in feeble health were pushed into the army, who ought to have been at home under the care of a doctor, and with their friends and families. In some instances persons who had spent a lifetime in Texas were accidentally in the North, and did not, or perhaps could not, return to their homes. Their property was seized by the receivers and confiscated. But the subject of most dissatisfaction was the proclamation of martial law, and the manner of its enforcement. It was not intended, originally, to interfere with men in legitimate business. But under the rulings of young lieutenants, citizens were prohibited from going to a neighboring county seat without a passport. Venerable men, who had spent forty years in Texas, felt humiliated when they had to travel a considerable distance to obtain from a young lieutenant permission to visit a relative, or transact some item of business in a neighborhood out of their county. While many complied with the requirements of the ‘order’ for the good of the cause, others thought it an intolerable infringement of the rights of freemen. One editor, for his severe strictures upon this measure, was threatened with arrest and imprisonment."

Governor Murrah was representative of this changed sentiment and he was in constant controversy with the Confederate government and the military authorities in an effort to preserve some of the powers of the state and the rights of the people. His messages to the legislature are filled with complaints of usurpation of the state’s powers and violation of the people’s rights. The truth was that the situation was becoming so desperate for the South that extreme measures were frequently adopted, such as the last conscript law of the Confederate government, which did not show a too scrupulous regard for either the powers of the state or the rights of the people. Everything was being subordinated to the main task of "winning the war." Indeed, it soon became the task of postponing defeat.

Another cause of perplexity was the question of finances. The state had nearly brought about its own bankruptcy in support of the war and the Confederate government had finally come to a condition of desperation in financing the armies in the field. The Confederate notes depreciated almost to the vanishing point as the fortunes of the cause waned, and there was no prospect of an improvement of the credit of either the state or Confederate government. Governor Murrah and the legislature did their best to deal with this problem, but no solution of a practicable character could be discovered. The finances of both the state and the Confederacy were on the way toward collapse and there was no hope of preventing the crash.

In January, 1864, Gen. J. Kirby Smith was placed in command of the trans-Mississippi department for the Confederacy, and it was under his able direction that the invasion of East Texas was prevented in the spring of 1864. But on March 12, 1864, Gen. U. S. Grant was made commander in chief of the Union forces and his plan of campaign did not include active operations in the trans-Mississippi department. The theater of war was removed entirely from the Southwest, and two concentrated Federal armies were set in motion toward the goal of capturing Richmond and Atlanta. In this situation General Magruder was transferred to duty under General Smith in Arkansas and Gen. J. C. Walker was placed in command of Texas. The war now was in its last stage. In a year’s time Grant’s plan of campaign was worked out to success and on April 9, 1865, Gen. R. E. Lee, the Confederate commander, surrendered at Appomattox. During the next thirty days other departments of the Confederacy were surrendered and on May 30, 1865, Gen. J. Kirby Smith and General Magruder went on board a Federal vessel and surrendered the trans-Mississippi department.

Five days before the surrender of the department, Governor Murrah issued three proclamations. In one he commanded all civil officers throughout the state to preserve public property; in another he called a special session of the legislature, and in the third he ordered an election to name delegates to a convention of the people. But chaos had already begun to set in. The Confederate soldiers in the state disbanded without orders, and as they had not received any pay for months they took with them such public property as they could carry. A condition of disorder and confusion ensued. The patriotic appeals of military and civil officers alike were unheeded. The cause being lost, a great many of the soldiers, who had bravely endured hardships during the war, now adopted the rule of every man for himself. Armed bands of highwaymen began to commit depredations and lawlessness increased throughout the state. When the last vestige of Confederate authority vanished by the surrender of the department by Smith and Magruder, wild rumors got abroad picturing the punishment that would be inflicted upon those who had taken any prominent part in the affairs of the state or the Confederacy. Many became panic-stricken, and others declared they would not live under the rule of the Yankees. An exodus across the border into Mexico began. The high officials of the state, including Governor Murrah himself, were among those who fled. Former Governor Clark, General Smith, General Magruder and many others followed their example. Government disappeared entirely and, by the time Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston with a force of Federal troops on June 19, the chaos was complete.

General Granger had been appointed to command the department of Texas immediately after its surrender. His instructions were to establish order and to assist in setting up a provisional government which should remain in power until the state adjusted itself to the new order of things. President Lincoln had been assassinated on April 14, and President Andrew Johnson, who had succeeded him, had devised a plan of reconstruction by which the states of the conquered Confederacy might be restored to the Union. On May 29 President Johnson had issued a proclamation granting amnesty, with certain exceptions, to persons who had participated in the war on the side of the South, upon complying with specified conditions. On June 17 he appointed A. J. Hamilton, a former United States congressman from Texas, who had remained loyal to the Union, to be provisional governor of Texas, but pending Hamilton’s arrival General Granger was in full charge. General Granger’s first act upon landing at Galveston was to issue a proclamation declaring all the slaves to be free and invalidating all laws enacted since secession. It is for this reason that June 19, the date of the proclamation, is observed by the negroes in Texas as Emancipation day.

Provisional Governor Hamilton arrived in Texas in July and on July 25 he issued a proclamation outlining his policy and inviting loyal men from every part of the state to come to Austin to confer with him. His instructions from President Johnson were that he should arrange for the holding of a convention for the purpose of reestablishing civil government and restoring constitutional relations between the state and the federal government. Governor Hamilton, who was a very able man, entered upon these duties in a manner which indicated an early reestablishment of order. In spite of the gloom of the moment the prospect for the future of Texas began to brighten a little. The war was over. The tasks of peace were at hand. Many Texans who had supported the Confederacy throughout the struggle now came forward to assist in restoring the broken fortunes of the state. But, as shall be seen in due course, nearly a decade was to pass before Texas would again be a self-governing commonwealth. The dark days of reconstruction were at hand.

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