Doc. 26. amnesty to insurgent enemies.
war Department, Adjutant General's office, Washington, August 8, 18641. The attention of commanding officers of departments, districts, military posts, and detachments, is called to the following paragraph in the Proclamation of the President, dated the twenty-sixth of March, 1864, defining the cases in which insurgent enemies are entitled to the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation of the eighth of December, 1863:
It (the amnesty) does apply only to those persons who, being yet at large and free from any arrest, confinement or duress, shall voluntarily come forward and take the said oath, with the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority.From various departments and districts information has been received by this department that insurgent enemies in the States of Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, have endeavored, fraudulently and treacherously, to obtain the benefits of the President's amnesty by taking the prescribed oath, without any purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority, but for the purpose of preserving their property from the penalty of their crimes, or of screening themselves from punishment for the commission  of arson, robbery, treason and murder. All commanders of departments, districts, posts and detachments, and all officers in the military service, are directed to use the utmost diligence in detecting and bringing to punishment all insurgent enemies who have been or may be guilty of fraudulently and treacherously taking the oath prescribed by the President's Proclamation for any other purpose than that of “restoring peace and establishing the national authority,” and they will treat such oath, when fraudulently and treacherously taken, as not entitling the guilty parties to any clemency, but as being in itself a substantive offence against the Government, and as affording no protection to the individuals by whom it has been or may be taken, either in their persons or property, and as depriving them of all claim to immunity, protection or clemency. 2. Commanders of departments and districts are also authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations in respect to the administration of said oath in future, as may be needed to prevent the improper administration of said oath to persons taking it for any other than the “purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority.” To all persons who have or shall voluntarily come forward and take the oath, “with the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority,” full protection, and all the benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation will be extended. 3. Commanders and all military officers will exercise strict vigilance within their respective commands, in order to detect and bring to punishment any officer, civil, military or naval, who knowingly and wilfully has administered or shall administer the said oath to any person or persons, except the insurgent enemies, who are, by the proclamation of the twenty-sixth of March, entitled to the benefits of said amnesty proclamation, by reason of their taking the oath for “the purpose of restoring peace and establishing the national authority.” By order of the Secretary of War.
E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General.