Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood
May 5-6, 1865

Wheeling Intelligencer
May 10, 1865

West Virginia.

General Orders from the Military Commander of the Department.:Rebels Allowed to come into the State who were Residents Before the War:Guerrillas to be Hunted Down.

Headquarters Department West Va.,
Cumberland, Md., May 5th, 1865.

General Orders, No. 56.]

Those men in West Virginia, who claim to be rebel soldiers, and who have refused to surrender on the very liberal terms heretofore offered them, will hereafter have no claim when captured to be considered prisoners of war. Stealing horses is their principal vocation, and private gain their object. They are in fact banditti, and liable to be treated as such.

Commanding officers are therefore directed, and all good citizens are requested, to use their utmost exertions to hunt them down, and rid the country of their presence. When captured they will be forwarded, with evidence of their unlawful practices, to these headquarters for speedy trial by military commission.

By command of Brevet Maj. Gen. Emory.

Th. Melvin,
Ass't Adj't Gen'l.


Headquarters Dep'tment West Va.,
Cumberland, Md., May 6th, 1865.

General Orders No. 57.]

The following instructions based on orders from Headquarters Middle Military Division, relating to paroled officers and men, rebel deserters, refugees and civil officers of the rebel States, are published for the information and guidance of all concerned.

I.Rebel officers and soldiers surrendering [?] the military authorities will be granted the same terms as those given to Gen. Lee's Army by Gen. Grant. But it is understood that all who claim homes in the District of Columbia and in States that never passed the Ordinance of Secession (Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri included) have forfeited them and can only return thereto by complying with the Amnesty Proclamation of the president and obtaining special permission from the War Department. The State of West Virginia is not included in the exception, and parties surrendering will be permitted to return to their homes in that State on their paroles, to remain as long as they respect their paroles and the laws in force where they reside. Good faith demands that this privilege be secured to them, and that they shall not be driven from their homes by the citizens in the absence of any specific charge showing that it is dangerous to the community for them to remain; but no soldier whose home was not in West Virginia before the war can now claim that as his home. (Telegram April 18th, 19th, and May 6th, Hd Qrs. M. M. D.)

II. Rebels refugees and deserters who may desire to return to their homes within the limits of this Department, will be permitted to do so upon taking the oath of allegiance to the United States, and will be suffered to remain while they conform to the laws in force where they reside, unless their presence is considered by their loyal neighbors and the military authorities, dangerous to the peace and security of the country. (Telegram April 22d, Hd Qrs M. M. D.)

III. While the strict ruling of the terms of the surrender of General Lee requires that private horses, that have been used for Government purposes should be given up, this will not be insisted on as a condition of surrender.

Where it is evident that horses in the possession of paroled officers or men of deserters or refugees, are or have been the property of the United States, they will be recovered and turned over to the proper officers.

Enlisted men surrendering themselves will be required to give up their arms unless evidence is produced that they have been lost and not secreted. (Telegram April 16th, Hd Qrs. M. M. D.)

IV. Members of Legislatures and other Civil Officers of States that have passed the ordinance of secession, and citizens who have affiliated with or aided the rebellion, will not be permitted to return to their homes in the Department of West Virginia, without first obtaining the authority of the Honorable Secretary of War to do so. And in all cases where applications are forwarded to him they must be accompanied by the oaths of allegiance to the United States of the persons seeking the indulgence. (Telegram May 2d, Hd Qrs. M. M. D.)

V. In relation to Prisoners of War, Paragraph 10 of General Orders No. 77, current series, War Department directs that

"The Commissary of prisoners will have rolls made out of the name, residence, time and place of capture, and occupation of all prisoners of war who will take the oath of allegiance to the United States, to the end that such as are disposed to become good and loyal citizens of the United States, and who are proper objects of Executive clemency, may be released upon the terms that the president shall deem fit and consistent with public safety."

By command of Brevet major General Emory.

Th. Melvin,
Ass't Adj Gen'l.

Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood: May 1865

West Virginia Archives and History