Category Archives: Union

Qualification of Voters – Virginia

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 101, 4 May 1865

The following is the Third Article of the Constitution of the State of Virginia adopted by the Convention which assembled in Alexandria on the 13th of February, 1864, and which prescribes the qualifications of voters in the State:

Every white male citizen of the Commonwealth, of the age of twenty-one years, who has been a resident of the State for one year, and of the county, city or town where he offers to vote for six months next preceding an election, and has paid all taxes assessed to him, after the adoption of this constitution, under the laws of the Commonwealth after the reorganization of the county, city or town where he offers to vote, shall be qualified to vote for members of the general assembly, and all officers elective by the people.  Provided, however, that no one shall be allowed to vote who, when he offers to vote, shall not thereupon take, or shall not before have taken, the following oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the laws made in pursuance thereof, as the supreme law of the land, anything in the Constitution and laws of the State of Virginia, or in the ordinances of the Convention which assembled at Richmond on the thirteenth day of February, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, to the contrary notwithstanding; and that I will uphold and defend the government of Virginia as restored by the Convention which assembled at Wheeling on the eleventh day of June, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and that I have not since the first day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, voluntarily given aid or assistance, in any way, to those in rebellion against the Government of the United States for the purpose of promoting the same. ” But the Legislature shall have power to pass an act or acts prescribing means which persons who have been disfranchised by this provision shall or may be restored to the rights of voters when in their opinion it will be safe to do so.  Any person falsely so swearing shall be subject to the penalties of perjury.

No person shall hold any office under this Constitution who shall not have taken and subscribed the oath aforesaid.  But no person shall vote or hold office under the constitution who has held office under the so called confederate government, or under any rebellious State government, or has been a member of the so called confederate congress, or a member of any State Legislature in rebellion against the authority of the United States, excepting therefrom county officers.

General Hancock’s Appeal to the Colored People

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 66, Number 92, 24 April 1865

Washington, D.C., April 24

To the colored people of the District of Columbia and of Maryland, of Alexandria and the border counties of Virginia:

Your president has been murdered! He has fallen by the assassin and without a moment’s warning, simply and solely because he was your friend and the friend of our country. Had he been unfaithful to you and the great cause of human freedom he might have lived. The pistol from which he met his death, though held by Booth, was fired by the hands of treason and slavery.  Think of this! remember how long and how anxiously this good man labored to break your chains and to make you happy.  I now appeal to you by every consideration which can move loyal and grateful hearts, to aid in discovering and arresting this murderer.  Concealed by traitors, he is believed to be lurking somewhere within the limits of the District of Columbia, of the State of Maryland, or Virginia. Go forth, then, and watch, and listen, and inquire, and search, and pray, by day and by night, until you shall have succeeded in dragging this monstrous and bloody criminal from his hiding-place. You can do much; even the humblest and feeblest among you, by patience and unwearied vigilance, may render the most important assistance. Large rewards have been offered by the Government, and by municipal authorities, and they will be paid for the apprehension of this murderer, or for any information which will aid in his arrest.  But I feel you need no such stimulus as this.  You will hunt down this cowardly assassin of your best friend, as you would the murderer of your own father. Do this, and God, whose servant has been slain, and the country which has given you freedom, will bless you for this noble act of duty.

All information which will lead to the arrest of Booth, or Suratt, or Herold, should be communicated to these headquarters, or to General Holt, Judge Advocate General,  at Washington, or, if immediate action is required,  then to the nearest military authorities.

All officers and soldiers in this command, and all loyal people, are enjoined to increased vigilance.

W.S. Hancock
Major Gen’l U.S. Vols.
Comm’g Middle Military Division

Arming of Fugitive Slaves

Alexandria Gazette, Volume 63, Number 167, 3 July 1862

Armed and ready to protect the Union.

Gen. Hunter, of the Department of S.C., has written a letter to the Secretary of War, in reply to the inquiry concerning the equipment, arming, &c.,  of fugitive slaves, in which he says, that he was authorized by Secretary Cameron to employ all persons, without distinction of color, for the suppression of rebellion; that the regiment of negroes organized are not “fugitives,” but their late masters are “fugitives,” and he concludes as follows – “The experiment of arming the blacks, as far as I have made it has been a complete and even marvelous success. They are sober, docile, attentive and enthusiastic, displaying great natural capacities for acquiring the duties of the soldier.  They are eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action; and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have charge of them, that in the peculiarities of this climate and country they will prove invaluable auxiliaries — fully equal to the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the British authorities in the West India Islands.  In conclusion, I would say it is my hope, there appearing no possibility of other reinforcements, owing to the exigencies of the campaign in the Peninsula, to have organized by the end of next fall, and be able to present to the Government from forty-eight to fifty thousand of these hardy and devoted soldiers.”