Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 6, 1861 (Saturday): Law & Order Come to the Volunteers

Union Soldiers In Camp-National Archieves

                                                    Martinsburg, Va., July 6, 1861.

I.                 The following Articles of War will be read to each command, and be posted in a conspicuous place in each camp and quarters.  All officers and good soldiers are required to check with a firm hand any violation of these regulations, and to arrest and report the offenders forthwith, in order that they may be brought to punishment, and the good name of this army and of the American people protected from dishonor:
Article 48.  Any officer belonging to the service of the United States, who by the discharging of fire-arms, drawing of swords, beating of drums, or by any other usage whatsoever, shall occasion false alarms in camp, garrison, or quarters, shall suffer death, or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a court-martial.
   Article 51.  No officer or soldier shall do violence to any person who brings provisions or other necessaries to the camp, garrison, or quarters of the forces of the United States…
   Article 52.  Any officer or soldier who shall misbehave himself before the enemy, run away, or shamefully abandon any fort, post, or guard which he or they may be commanded to defend, or speak words inducing others to do the like, or shall cast away his arms and ammunition, or who shall quit his post, or colors to plunder and pilage, every such offender, being duly convicted thereof, shall suffer death or other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a general court-martial.
    Article 54.  All officers and soldiers are to behave themselves orderly in quarters and on their march, and whoever shall commit any waste or spoil, either in walks of trees, parks, warrens, fish-ponds, houses or gardens, corn-fields, inclosure of meadows, or shall maliciously destroy any property or whatsoever belonging to the inhabitants of the United States, unless by the order of the then commander-in-chief of the armies of the said States, shall (besides such penalties as they are liable to by law) be punished according to the usage and degree of the offense, by the judgment of a regimental or general court-martial.
    Article 57.  Whosoever shall be convicted of holding correspondence with, or giving intelligence to, the enemy, either directly or indirectly, shall suffer death or such other punishment as shall be ordered by the sentence of a court-martial.
II.               The names and offices of all persons engaged in plundering or wantonly destroying property, and of officers conniving at such disgraceful practices, will, on detection, be published to the army and the country.
III.             The commanding general has assured the citizens of protection while peacefully following their ordinary avocations, and no one worthy of association with honorable men will disturb them….
IV.            All officers will be held responsible for the enforcement of these regulations within their respective commands.
By order of Major-General Patterson:
                                                                                 F. J. PORTER,
                                                                     Assistant Adjustant-General.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 51, Part 1, Page 413.

Building an army from volunteers unfamiliar with military customs and discipline was no easy task, as Patterson and others, Union and Confederate, would find out. 

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