could not have the benefit of Judge Rives
's eminent services in the vital work of reconstruction, and some ‘carpet-bagger’ had to take his place.
And thus, although the acts of Congress permitted a majority of the whites to vote, their choice of officers was restricted to negroes and ‘carpet-baggers’!
To these latter, therefore, was committed the entire work of organizing and administering the Southern State
governments, which required the aid of the United States troops to support them, and which fell by their own weight the moment that support was withdrawn.
The manner in which I executed those ‘reconstruction’ acts of Congress in Virginia
, so as to save that State from the great evils suffered by sister States, is perhaps an instructive part of the history of that time.
The following extracts from my orders and correspondence clearly show the constitutional principles upon which my administration was based.
They also give the essential points in the history of Virginia
reconstruction up to the time when the Convention
had completed its work of framing a constitution.
My ‘General Orders, No. 1,’ dated Richmond, Va.
, March 13, 1867, was as follows:
I. In compliance with the order of the President, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the First District, State of Virginia, under the act of Congress of March 2, 1867.
All officers under the existing provisional government of the State of Virginia will continue to perform the duties of their respective offices according to law, unless otherwise hereafter ordered in individual cases, until their successors shall be duly elected and qualified in accordance with the above-named act of Congress.
It is desirable that the military power conferred by the before-mentioned act be exercised only so far as may be necessary to accomplish the objects for which that power was conferred, and the undersigned appeals to the people of Virginia, and especially to magistrates and other civil officers, to render