Select Statutes and Other Documents: Illustrative of the History of the United States, 1861-1898

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No. 45. Freedom for Soldiers' Families
March 3, 1865

A BILL to secure the freedom of soldiers' families was introduced in the Senate, December 13, 1864, by Wilson of Massachusetts, and passed that body January 9, 1865, notwithstanding strong opposition, by a vote of 27 to 10. The vote in the House, February 22, on the passage of the bill was 74 to 63, 45 not voting.

REFERENCES. -- Text in U.S. Statutes at Large, XIII, 571. For the proceedings see the House and Senate Journals, 38th Cong., 2d Sess., and the Cong. Globe. The important debate was in the Senate.

A Resolution to encourage Enlistments and to promote the Efficiency of the military Forces of the United States.

Resolved . . ., That, for the purpose of encouraging enlistments and promoting the efficiency of the military and naval forces of the United States, it is hereby enacted that the wife and children, if any he have, of any person that has been, or may be, mustered into the military or naval service of the United States, shall, from and after the passage of this act, be forever free, any law, usage, or custom whatsoever to the contrary notwithstanding; and in determining who is or was the wife and who are the children of the enlisted person herein mentioned, evidence that he and the woman claimed to be his wife have cohabited together, or associated as husband and wife, and so continued to cohabit or associate at the time of the enlistment, or evidence that a form or ceremony of marriage, whether such marriage was or was not authorized or recognized by law, has been entered into or celebrated by them, and that the parties thereto thereafter lived together, or associated or cohabited as husband and wife, and so continued to live, cohabit, or associate at the time of the enlistment, shall be deemed sufficient proof of marriage for the purposes of this act, and the children born of any such marriage shall be deemed and taken to be the children embraced within the provisions of this act, whether such marriage shall or shall not have been dissolved at the time of such enlistment.

APPROVED, March 3, 1865.

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