Reconstruction Efforts of May 1865

May 9, 1865 – President Andrew Johnson continued efforts to quickly restore the Union by approving the installment of Virginia’s new pro-U.S. government.

The process of restoring the conquered states to the Union began accelerating this month with the surrender of most Confederate troops. The process was more advanced for some states than others. In Missouri, Governor Thomas Fletcher replaced the state supreme court and some 800 other state employees without legislative or popular approval. Fletcher had been authorized to do so by the Missouri constitutional convention, whose delegates voted 43 to 5 to replace all significant state employees with those “loyal” to the U.S.[1]

17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

17th U.S. President Andrew Johnson | Image Credit: learnnc.org

Johnson met with a Pennsylvania delegation to discuss his reconstruction policies. The delegation was dominated by “Radical” Republicans seeking harsh retribution against the South. The Radicals hoped that Johnson would be an ally, but Johnson explained that while he intended to punish Confederate leaders, he also intended to offer mercy to Confederate soldiers that he felt had been forced into service by Confederate draft laws.[2]

On May 9, Johnson approved the restoration of Virginia, which included installing Francis H. Pierpont as the new governor. Pierpont had been the provisional governor in a pro-U.S. version of Virginia before the war in that state had ended. The next day, Johnson issued a proclamation that “armed resistance to the authority of this Government (from) the said insurrectionary States may be regarded as virtually at an end…” The Federal naval blockade was gradually lifted, and the military was slowly demobilized.[3]

Johnson appointed Major General Oliver O. Howard to lead the Freedmen’s Bureau to provide government aid to newly freed slaves. On May 22, Johnson announced that all seaports except for some in Texas would be opened for commerce, and all commercial activity east of the Mississippi River would resume. Five days later, Johnson ordered the liberation of those imprisoned by military authorities for various offenses, including protesting the war. By month’s end, Johnson prepared to issue his official announcement of restoration for all conquered states.[4]

—–

[1] White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Locations 60190-92

[2] White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Locations 60190-92

[3] Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 686-87

[4] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011), Locations 21343-67; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 688

Advertisements

Tagged: , , ,

4 thoughts on “Reconstruction Efforts of May 1865

  1. […] Andrew Johnson recognized Francis H. Pierpont as governor of […]

    Like

  2. […] Andrew Johnson recognized Francis H. Pierpont as governor of […]

    Like

  3. […] President Andrew Johnson appointed Major General Oliver O. Howard to head the Freedmen’s Bureau. […]

    Like

  4. […] President Andrew Johnson appointed Major General Oliver O. Howard to head the Freedmen’s Bureau. […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: