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Collection Title: United States Army Fourth Military District Documents

Collection Number: M65

Dates:1868-1869

Volume: 2 Items

Provenance: Received on June 25, 1970. Provenance unknown.

Copyright:This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

In 1865 many states experienced severe social and economic hardship following the American Civil War. The national government, under the leadership of President Andrew Johnson, developed a strategy to restore order in the Union. On April 29, 1865, Johnson announced preliminary steps to remove all commercial and social restrictions between the states. A month later, he issued terms whereby former Confederates could receive amnesty for their actions during the war and regain full rights of citizenship. Johnson's intention was for the South to return to its former position in the Union.

Not everyone supported the President in his endeavors, and a split occurred in the Republican Party. Radical Republicans saw Johnson as rewarding those who had fought to destroy the Union, and demanded harsher action. In 1866, Congress approved the Reconstruction Acts, against the advice of Johnson. The acts divided the former Confederacy into military districts, in which a military commander controlled all social, economic, and political activity in the region. Alvan Cullem Gillem was appointed the Supervisor of the Fourth Military District, comprised of Mississippi and Arkansas.

Gillem was born on July 29, 1830, in Jackson County, Tennessee, the son of Samuel Gillem. Educated at the United States Military Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, he graduated eleventh in his class in 1851. In the ten years preceding the American Civil War, Gillem served in Florida against the Seminoles and also served along the Texas frontier. With the outbreak of hostilities between the North and South in 1861, Gillem received the rank of captain and served under Major General George H. Thomas, later known as "The Rock of Chickamauga."

In May 1862, Gillem became Colonel of the 10th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Union Army), and also held the position of Provost Marshall of Nashville. Appointed Adjutant General of Tennessee on June 1, 1863, he watched over the reorganization of the social and economic structures of the state, serving as both administrator and military commander. In August 1863, Gillem received further promotion to Brigadier General Of All Volunteers in Tennessee. In the next year, he participated in the East Tennessee campaign against John Morgan and his cavalry division.

At the end of the war, Gillem remained in volunteer service until September 1866 when he received a commission for the regular United States Army. In January 1866, the government appointed Gillem as commander of the Fourth Military District. Based in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Gillem spent the next three years as supervisor of the states of Mississippi and Arkansas. His policy of conciliation and moderation displeased the Republicans, however, and when Ulysses S. Grant assumed the presidency in 1869, Gillem was transferred to Texas. For the next seven years, he served in both Texas and California. In 1875 he became ill and returned to Nashville, Tennessee, where he died on December 2, 1875. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville.

Scope and Content:

This collection contains two printed rosters of the distribution of officers and companies of the Fourth Military District, Department of Mississippi, dated November 1, 1868, and February 1, 1869. The documents were originally in pamphlet form, but at some point, they were opened out and laminated, as a preservation measure.

The front side of each roster indicates the district name (Fourth Military District), the commanding officer (Brevet Brigadier General Alvan C. Gillem), the headquarters for the region (Vicksburg, Mississippi), and the date of the rosters (November 1, 1868, and February 1, 1869, respectively). The other side of the document lists all staff officers, their titles, their regiments, and the locations of the officers and men in the district. Nine troop locations are listed in the Department of Mississippi -- Vicksburg, Jackson, Natchez, Brookhaven, Grenada, Columbia, Corinth, Holly Springs, and Lauderdale. Next to each location is listed the commanding officer of the post and the troops under his command. Both documents contain the same information, except that the roster for February 1, 1869 no longer lists Brookhaven as a military post, and the commander of Holly Springs is Brevet Major General W.P. Carlin, instead of Brevet Major John Power. Both documents are signed by Acting Assistant Adjutant General (Brevet Major) John Tyler, First Lieutenant 43rd Infantry.

The collection is of note to anyone interested in the Reconstruction era, particularly the political, social, and military situation in Mississippi in the years immediately following the American Civil War.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: November 8, 2004