General Schofield Decides as to who are Disfranchised in District No. 1.

June 4, 1867

Summary

General Schofield decides who is considered a rebel, who is not eligible to vote and who may register for the future elections.People who held government titles prior to when the war began or gave aid to the Confederate army are rebels and, therefore, ineligible to vote.Exceptions include people who gave acts of humanity in hospitals or food and comfort.

Transcription

General Schofield Decides as to who are Disfranchised in District No. 1. The following order is as clear as Mr. Stanbery's Opinion was muddy. It is in fact a model paper: and as we have heretofore exercised our privilege of speaking very plainly of the demerits of some of General Schofield's orders, so now we must admit that we believe this order to be a fair, impartial, and candid exposition of the reconstruction acts, and much more nearly in compliance with the requirements of these acts than the "opinion." We would except municipal officers and all sorts of inspectors from the disfranchising operation of the laws, if our construction could prevail ; yet we must concede that there is doubt enough upon this point to justify General Schofield's construction of the order. "No one is disfranchised for participation in rebellion unless he previously held some one of the offices above named.'' This is short, sharp, and decisive. The General ought to have added, "And no one is disfranchised for having held one of these offices previous to the rebellion unless he afterwards engaged in rebellion." For instance, the judges and justices of all our courts of record are included among the disfranchised ; yet General Schofield does not mean to say that they were engaging in rebellion, or aiding and abetting it, by holding their said offices. On the contrary he says the offices whose incumbents during the war are now to be disfranchised are not such as those of justices and judges, but those whose functions were "of a nature to aid in prosecuting the war." So that but few of the persons named in paragraph 4th of this order need consider themselves disfranchised. General Schofield says they are not. It will be seen that clerks of courts are not included among the unfortunates. This will be good news to a number of worthy gentlemen and excellent officers in all parts of the State. Headquarters First Military District. State of Virginia. Richmond, VA., June 3, 1867. General Orders No. 34. The following instructions for the government of boards of Registration are published as an appendix to the regulations prescribed in General Orders No. 28. of May 13th, 1867/ 1. All male citizens of the United States twenty - one years of age and upward, of whatever race, color, or previous condition, who have been resident in the State for one year, except such as may be disfranchised for participation in the rebellion or for felony, are entitled to be registered as voters upon their taking and subscribing the oath or affirmation prescribed by the act of Congress of March 23d, 1867. 2. All those who were at any time members of Congress, or officers of the United States, civil or military, and as such officers took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and all who were at any time members of any State Legislature, or executive or judicial officers of any State, and afterwards engaged in insurrection oi rebellion against the United States, or gave aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, and all who have been convicted of felony against the laws of any State or of the United States, are disfranchised. 3. No one is disfranchised for participation in rebellion unless he previously held some one of the offices above named. 4. The following will be regarded as executive and judicial officers of the State of Virginia within the meaning of the law - viz., Governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, auditor of public accounts, second auditor, register of the land office, state treasurer, attorney-general, judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals, judges of the circuit courts, judge of the court of hustings, justices of the county courts, mayor, recorder, and aldermen of any city or incorporated town, who are ex officio justices, coroners of towns and counties, escheators, inspectors of tobacco, flour, and other commodities. 5. All persons who voluntarily joined the rebel army, and all persons in that army, whether volunteers or conscripts, who committed voluntarily any hostile act, thereby engaged in insurrection or rebellion. Any person, however, who was forced into the rebel army, but avoided, as far as possible, doing hostile acts, and escaped from that army as soon as possible, cannot be said to have engaged in the rebellion. 5. All who exercised the functions of any office under the Confederate Government, or the Government of any one of the Confederate States, which functions were of a nature to aid in prosecuting the war of a nature hostile character war, or maintaining the hostile character of those Governments, and all who voted for the ordinance of secession, engaged in the rebellion or gave aid and comfort to the enemy. 7. Those who voluntarily furnished supplies of food, clothing, arms, ammunition horses, or mules, or any other material of war, or labor or service of any kind, to the Confederate military or naval forces, or money, by loan or otherwise, to the Confederate Government, or aided in any way the raising, organization, or equipment of troops, gave aid and comfort to the enemy, and participated in the rebellion and civil war against the United States. 8. To give individual soldiers food or clothing enough to relieve present suffering, or to minister to the sick or wounded, are simple acts of charity or humanity , and do not constitute giving "aid or comfort to the enemy." A parent may give his son who belongs to the hostile army food and clothing tor his own use; but if he give him a gun, horse, or other thing, to be used for hostile purposes, he thereby gives aid and comfort to the enemy. 9. Whenever, after the examination required by paragraph 12 of the Regulations of May 13th. the Board is still in doubt as to the right of the applicant to be registered as a voter, and he is then willing to take the prescribed oath, the Board will give to that oath its full weight, and register the applicant as a voter. 10. In the lists of those who are "registered after challenge and examination," and those who are "rejected upon challenge," the Board will state in each case what office or offices the person held previous to the late war, and what insurrectionary or rebellious acts he committed, and what kind of aid or comfort he gave to those engaged in insurrection or rebellion. 11. The challengers provided for in paragraph 12 of the regulations of May 13th will be selected by the Board from the most respectable and intelligent voters of the district or ward, those who have the most extended acquaintance with the people, those who are interested in securing a fair and just registration, and who will be most likely to detect and expose any attempt at fraudulent registration. The challengers may be changed at any time, at the discretion of the Board. They will not be entitled to any pay for their services. 12. Boards of Registration will adhere strictly to the regulations published for their government, and will spare no pains to secure a just and fair registration according to these instructions. If any who are entered upon the lists as rejected by the Board after challenge and examination still believe they are entitled to vote, and are willing to take the prescribed oath, that oath will be administered (if it has not already been taken by the applicant), and the fact of his having taken the oath will be recorded opposite his name on the register. Much diligence will be required, especially in cities, on the part of members of the Board and challengers, to prevent fraudulent registration of persons who are disqualified from non-residence, minority, or felony. 13. Registering officers are hereby empowered to administer oaths to witnesses who may be summoned by the Board in any case of contested registration. The registration will be commenced in every county and city without unnecessary delay after the receipt of this order. By command of Brigadier and Brevet Major-General J. M. Schofield, U. S. A. S. F. Chalfin, Assistant Adjutant-General.
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“General Schofield Decides as to who are Disfranchised in District No. 1.,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed November 18, 2017, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/621.