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[613] was held on October 12th. All were allowed to vote who had not held office under the state government or the Confederacy during the war, after they had taken the amnesty oath. The so-called legislature assembled and entered upon the regulation of all the affairs of the state. A general act of vagrancy was passed, whereupon the major general in command issued an order ‘that no magistrate, civil officer, or other person shall, in any way or manner, apply, or attempt to apply, the provisions of the said statute to any colored person in this department.’ At the municipal election in Richmond the mayor, attorney, and superintendent of the poor, elected, were persons who had held office under the Confederate states. They were not allowed by the military authority to qualify, and subsequently declined.

In 1865 the Congress of the United States passed an act which provided that the following amendment to the Constitution should be submitted to the legislatures of the several States for ratification or rejection:

section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction.

section 2. Congress shall have full power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

One Dr. James L. Watson was tried for killing a negro in Rockbridge County, and acquitted. Major General Schofield, in command of the military forces of the department, immediately ordered his arrest and trial by a military commission. On the assembling of the cimmission a writ of habeas corpus was sued out of the Circuit Court of Richmond in behalf of Watson, and served on the general. In his answer, he declined compliance with the writ, saying:

Dr. Watson is held for tral by military commission, under the authority of the act of Congress of July 16, 1866, which act directs and requires the President, through the commissioner and officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, to exercise military jurisdiction over all cases and questions concerning the free enjoyment of the right to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, etc., by all citizens, without respect to race or color, or previous condition of slavery, of the States whose constitutional relations to the Government of the United States have been discontinued by the rebellion, and have not been restored.

In the meantime, the United States attorney General having examined the case, and reported that, in his opinion, the military commission had not competent jurisdiction, the President thereupon directed that the commission be dissolved and the prisoner discharged without delay.

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