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The Civil War Confiscation ActsFailing to Reconstruct the South$
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John Syrett

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823224890

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823224890.001.0001

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Early Military Confiscation

Early Military Confiscation

(p.73) 5 Early Military Confiscation
The Civil War Confiscation Acts

John Syrett

Fordham University Press

The military commanders and troops encountered confiscable property before any other government officials and, through martial law, could have prevented transfers of property titles. Attorney General Bates, with Lincoln's support, also opposed military confiscation except as related to slavery. Bates's concern over military interference involving confiscation, the amount of property the military confiscated under either act was not large. Butler's interest in confiscating property particularly that of prominent rebels, increased after the second act became law. The military used confiscation to justify the destruction or seizure of other forms of rebel property as they moved into the South. The second act's most significant impact on Southern property involved the military's changed view of slavery and contrabands from July 1862. Slaves could not be freed under the second act unless a court adjudicated the issue. What the second act did was support the changing views on how to conduct the war.

Keywords:   Attorney General Bates, military, troops, confiscation, slavery, martial law

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