Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"permitted to resume the freeman's right of bearing arms in self-defence...."

H'd Qrs. Department Cumberland,
Winchester, Tenn. Aug. 15th, '68.

General Orders, }
         No. 199.    }

   I. It is the earnest desire of the General Commanding that all peaceful, as well as loyal, citizens of Tennessee should receive all possible protection to persons and property; that they should resume the exorcises of their political and civil rights, under the Constitution of Tennessee and of the United States.

   II. Since the rebel power has been driven from Middle Tennessee, number of men have left their army; they, and others scattered through the country are in danger of being assembled into lawless bands for theft, pillage and violence, under the name of guerrilla warfare.

   To prevent this, which would destroy the whole country, the General Commanding earnestly warns all such persons not to engage in such a criminal course. If they wish to oppose the Government of the United States, they must take upon themselves the uniform and subject themselves to the duties and restrictions of regularly organized rebel soldiers. If taken within the country subject to our control in disguise, roaming as individuals or banding with other brigands, and living by stealing and plundering, they will be treated as spies or 'robbers, enemies of the human race, against whom it is the duty of all, both military and civilians, to wage a war of extermination.

   III. Since it is for the salvation of civil society, no person within the limits of this command will be exempted from the duty of using their utmost efforts to put a stop to any attempt to inaugurate a state of plunder, rapine and murder, under the name of guerrilla warfare. In enforcing this duty the General Commanding will follow the old rule of common law, and hold the inhabitants of each locality.
responsible for the guerrilla warfare practiced in their midst, and, unless satisfied that they have done their full duty and used their utmost efforts to stop it, will lay waste, their country and render it untenable for robbers.

   IV. Peaceful inhabitants, without regard to political sympathies, being equally interested in preventing the ruin of their country, are counseled and enjoined to unite in putting a final end to all lawless and individual warfare, robbing. and plundering under the name of partisans and guerrillas.

   To this end they must use all the moral influence they can bring to bear, warning those who threaten, publicly denouncing the practice, and giving information which will lead to the prevention of the crimes or the capture and punishment of the offenders.

   They will further be permitted to resume the freeman's right of bearing arms in self-defence whenever and wherever the Military Governor of the State and the Department Commander deem it practicable, without involving the risk of their being captured and used against the Government.

   V. All persons heretofore acting with the rebellion and desirous of becoming peaceable citizens, are referred to General Orders, No. 175, for the terms upon which it will allowed.

   BY Command Maj. Gen. Rosecrans.

[Winchester Army Bulletin, Winchester, Tenn., Aug. 15, 1863. Vol. 1. No. 5. Pg. 2]

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