Andrew Johnson

Executive Order—To Reestablish the Authority of the United States and Execute the Laws Within the Geographical Limits Known as the State of Virginia

May 09, 1865

Ordered , first. That all acts and proceedings of the political, military, and civil organizations which have been in a state of insurrection and rebellion within the State of Virginia against the authority and laws of the United States, and of which Jefferson Davis, John Letcher, and William Smith were late the respective chiefs, are declared null and void. All persons who shall exercise, claim, pretend, or attempt to exercise any political, military, or civil power, authority, jurisdiction, or right by, through, or under Jefferson Davis, late of the city of Richmond, and his confederates, or under John Letcher or William Smith and their confederates, or under any pretended political, military, or civil commission or authority issued by them or either of them since the 17th day of April, 1861, shall be deemed and taken as in rebellion against the United States, and shall be dealt with accordingly.

Second. That the Secretary of State proceed to put in force all laws of the United States the administration whereof belongs to the Department of State applicable to the geographical limits aforesaid.

Third. That the Secretary of the Treasury proceed without delay to nominate for appointment assessors of taxes and collectors of customs and internal revenue and such other officers of the Treasury Department as are authorized by law, and shall put in execution the revenue laws of the United States within the geographical limits aforesaid. In making appointments the preference shall be given to qualified loyal persons residing within the districts where their respective duties are to be performed; but if suitable persons shall not be found residents of the districts, then persons residing in other States or districts shall be appointed.

Fourth. That the Postmaster-General shall proceed to establish post-offices and post routes and put into execution the postal laws of the United States within the said State, giving to loyal residents the preference of appointment; but if suitable persons are not found, then to appoint agents, etc., from other States.

Fifth. That the district judge of said district proceed to hold courts within said State in accordance with the provisions of the act of Congress. The Attorney-General will instruct the proper officers to libel and bring to judgment, confiscation, and sale property subject to confiscation, and enforce the administration of justice within said State in all matters, civil and criminal, within the cognizance and jurisdiction of the Federal courts.

Sixth. That the Secretary of War assign such assistant provost-marshal-general and such provost-marshals in each district of said State as he may deem necessary.

Seventh. The Secretary of the Navy will take possession of all public property belonging to the Navy Department within said geographical limits and put in operation all acts of Congress in relation to naval affairs having application to the said State.

Eighth. The Secretary of the Interior will also put in force the laws relating to the Department of the Interior.

Ninth. That to carry into effect the guaranty by the Federal Constitution of a republican form of State government and afford the advantage and security of domestic laws, as well as to complete the reestablishment of the authority and laws of the United States and the full and complete restoration of peace within the limits aforesaid, Francis H. Peirpoint, governor of the State of Virginia, will be aided by the Federal Government so far as may be necessary in the lawful measures which he may take for the extension and administration of the State government throughout the geographical limits of said State.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.


By the President:


Acting Secretary of State.

Andrew Johnson, Executive Order—To Reestablish the Authority of the United States and Execute the Laws Within the Geographical Limits Known as the State of Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives