June 6, 1865: Executive Order Regarding Discharged Prisoners of War
ORDER FOR THE DISCHARGE OF CERTAIN PRISONERS OF WAR.
The prisoners of war at the several depots in the North will be discharged under the following regulations and restrictions:
I. All enlisted men of the rebel army and petty officers and seamen of the rebel navy will be discharged upon taking the oath of allegiance.
II. Officers of the rebel army not above the grade of captain and of the rebel navy not above the grade of lieutenant, except such as have graduated at the United States Military or Naval academies and such as held a commission in either the United States Army or Navy at the beginning of the rebellion, may be discharged upon taking the oath of allegiance.
III. When the discharges hereby ordered are completed, regulations will be issued in respect to the discharge of officers having higher rank than captain in the army or lieutenant in the navy.
IV. The several commanders of prison stations will discharge each day as many of the prisoners hereby authorized to be discharged as proper rolls can be prepared for, beginning with those who have been longest in prison and from the most remote points of the country; and certified rolls will be forwarded daily to the Commissary-General of Prisoners of those so discharged. The oath of allegiance only will be administered, but notice will be given that all who desire will be permitted to take the oath of amnesty after their release, in accordance with the regulations of the Department of State respecting the amnesty.
V. The Quartermaster's Department will furnish transportation to all released prisoners to the nearest accessible point to their homes, by rail or by steamboat.
By order of the President of the United States:
E. D. TOWNSEND,