A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution

By Harold M. Hyman | Go to book overview

Chapter XIII
Military Government and Conscription: Terrible Machines, Capital When Under Good Control

N o one has bettered Halleck's description of Lincoln's military governors as "civico-mitarary" officials.1 Lincoln cared little about categorizing them precisely. He used them--or tried to--as he used the new Provisional Court judges and Holt's judge advocates: to counterweigh provost marshals, military commissions, and combat commanders. In short, military governors of rewon rebel states became investments in civilian direction of the War and shaping of the peace.

Initial inspiration for appointing military governors came from a general, Ambrose Burnside, who, very early in 1862, complained that occupation problems at New Bern, North Carolina, were inhibiting combat plans. He wanted Lincoln to "relieve . . . him from much that is tiring and harassing to him," Burnside's secretary noted.2 Edward Stanly, Lincoln's first military governor, soon reached Burnside's "capital"; an indication of how

____________________
1
Henry W. Halleck to Francis Lieber, Apr. 18, 1865, Lieber Papers, HL.
2
Entry May 18, 1862, D. R. Lamed ms. diary, LC, and see Edward Stanly to Stanton, Jan. 10, 1863, Stanton Papers, LC.

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