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Reorganization of the Democratic party. The conventions in May and
August. Differences and discussions as to policies. Bloodshed in
REVIEW AND REFLECTIONS.
Conditions at the close of the Civil War. The action of Congress. The
course of the whites. Characteristics of negro rule. Republican
reforms. Attitude of the Federal Government. Conclusion.. .. .. 495
The matter of this book was first printed in weekly parts in The State, and to the enterprise and liberality of the publishers is due also its presentation in permanent form.
The chapters, as they appeared in the newspaper, have been rearranged. The whole has been carefully revised, in order to approach as closely to absolute accuracy throughout as is possible in view of the nature of many of the sources of information. Public records have been used wherever accessible. Statements about which there might be a question-especially those affecting the character of individuals—have been carefully verified by reference to such records or to other sources of equal authority.
J. S. R. Supreme Court Library.
THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT.
Upon the collapse of the Government of the Confederate States, following the dispersion of the armies of Lee and Johnston, there was but the semblance of civil authority in South Carolina. Governor Magrath did indeed direct that all district and municipal officers should exercise their functions for the maintenance of peace and order, but he was so soon sent as a prisoner to Fort Pulaski, Savannah, that even the appearance of any power save that of the army of the United States was altogether wanting. There was no organized State government, no central civil authority, no militia, to which the people might look for the protection of life or property. The district governments, whose functions were limited and whose powers were quite inadequate to meet existing difficulties, maintained an apparent authority, but how far, in the changed order of things, their powers really extended it might have been difficult to determine. The appearance of United States troops to garrison the different cities and towns evidenced the presence of constituted authority superior to that theretofore exercised.
Until the appointment of the “provisional governor," the Government of the United States, acting by its military officers, was in actual possession of the territory of South Carolina—in actual control of the entire population. The military authority extended to every act of the citizen in his relations to government. Courtsmartial or military commissions or provost courts tried most questions formerly cognizable in the civil tribunals—their jurisdiction including all criminal offenses, from petit larceny to murder. Police regulations--the ordering of towns, the restriction of the sale of intoxicants, the subordination of the citizen to ordinances and rules of conduct--all these were administered by the military courts. The trial by jury not available, the question of guilt or innocence was decided by the post commander, or the provost marshal, or the provost court, or the military commission, according to the grade of the offense. There was harshness of administration, there was arbitrary use of power, there were instances of injustice. But, all this recognized, it may, after the lapse of so many years, be conceded
that the presence of the troops conduced to the maintenance of peace.
The powers assumed by military commanders extended beyond the endeavor to enforce obedience to existing laws and ordinances, and even beyond the effort to protect those rights of the freedmen which, apparently incident to emancipation, had not yet been recognized in any declaration by the State Government or by the white people claiming exclusive citizenship.
In an order dated May 15, 1865, Maj.-Gen. Q. A. Gillmore, commanding the Department of the South, with headquarters at Hilton Head, declared that “the people of the black race are free citizens of the United States," whose rights must be respected accordingly. By another order all persons who should fail to inform the negroes on their lands (before a date stated) of the fact that such negroes were free were made liable to the pains and penalties of disloyalty, and their lands subject to confiscation under the act establishing the “Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and Refugees," commonly called the “Freedmen's Bureau.” By an order issued about the same time persons desiring to publish newspapers were required first to "obtain the consent of the major-general commanding."
One principal and really useful function of the military in those days was in promoting, formulating and supervising contracts between landowners and their former slaves. Emancipation became a recognized fact, by the negroes as well as the whites, about the ist of June, 1865. It is easy to see what might have followed a general refusal of the negroes on the plantations to engage to work thereon. There were signs of restiveness on the freedmen's part, but this was steadily discouraged by the army officers. Numbers of negroes promptly assumed contractual relations with their late masters. Others, for different reasons, real or imaginary, were recalcitrant, and it was in these cases that the judicious intervention of an army officer was of wholesome effect. Nearly all the contracts were for shares of crops-one-third to the laborer being the accepted rule.
THE NEGRO TROOPS. The garrisons were at first of white troops entirely. Soon, however, came negro soldiers—the use of which, essentially cruel, was likewise reckless in the extreme. Even after the lapse of forty years it is easy to understand that the presence of armed negroes wearing the uniform of the United States, representing the power of the conquering government, must have demoralized and even inflamed