Military Occupation in Georgia[Reconstruction]. Thomas Ruger Archive Related to His Service as Military Governor of Georgia in 1868. More than 60 documents, letters, and telegraphs spanning the year 1868; during which time Thomas Ruger is appointed military governor of the State of Georgia by General George Meade. In March 1867, Georgia (along with Florida and Alabama) became part of the Third Military District. The U.S. Congress directed that all eligible voters, black and white, be registered and elections were held for delegates to a constitutional convention to be held in Atlanta. Governor Charles Jenkins, an outspoken opponent of the Fourteenth Amendment was ordered to pay $40,000 to fund the constitutional convention so as to rewrite the constitution to comply with the federal requirements. Jenkins refused and both he and state treasurer John Jones were removed from office by General Meade. In anticipation of being removed, Jenkins ordered all collection of taxes be halted. In addition, John Jones removed all records of issued warrants as well as the state seal; and the state comptroller followed suit and removed all of the state's financial records leaving the incoming administration no means to ascertain the state of the Treasury.
This archive documents Ruger's day to day activities as he attempts to enact General Meade's orders, and enforce the Congressional mandates of Reconstruction. Included are many retained copies of Ruger's reports to Meade, as well as actual letters and telegraphs from Meade and others that tell a compelling story of Georgia under military occupation after the War.
The archive includes a total of twelve documents from George Meade; of which four are Autograph Letters Signed, two are Letters Signed, one printed order signed, and five telegraphs in a secretarial hand. Highlights of which are:
[George Meade] Secretarially Signed Printed General Orders No. 8. One page, 5" x 7.75", Atlanta, Georgia, January 13, 1868. Printed orders removing Charles J. Jenkins, Provisional Governor and John Jones, Treasurer, of the State of Georgia from office for "having declined to respect the instructions of, and failed to co-operate with, the Major General Commanding." The order then appoints Thomas Ruger as Governor and Charles F. Rockwell as Treasurer; both men are ordered to Milledgeville to "enter upon the discharge of the duties devolving upon them from these Headquarters."
George Meade Letter Signed on Headquarters, Third Military District letterhead. Three and a quarter pages, Atlanta, Georgia, January 1868. Meade is writing to inform Ruger that Ulysses S. Grant has approved "my suggestion in regard to temporarily returning a part of the amount paid in on account of the State roads indebtedness... The Bank are [sic] willing to honor Capt. Rockwell's checks under protest, but urgently ask me to stay proceedings for a while to relieve them from the embarrassments and costs of future litigation..." He then directs Ruger to provide the minimal funding necessary to the charitable institutions that depend on the State for support.
George Meade Letter Signed on Headquarters, Third Military District letterhead. Four pages, Atlanta, Georgia, January 18, 1868. Meade is responding to the news of "the removal of the State Treasurer not only of all funds belonging to the State, but of the books and records of his office... This act... is a plain and decided act of contempt and disrespect to the authority of the United States." Meade then goes on to outline the steps to be taken by Ruger to obtain the necessary information to formulate the state's finances, including monies owed and collected.
George Meade Autograph Letter Signed on Headquarters, Third Military District letterhead. 3 pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Atlanta, January 23, 1868. Great content regarding the state's finances, in part: "Mr. Jones has assumed authority to enforce the Geor. Natl. Bank of this city, from paying to Capt. Rockwell the balance of $5500.00 in their hands to his credit, when he was relieved. I have informed the Bank that if it acknowledges Mr. Jones in any way that I will be compelled to close their doors... This action of his however services the determined spirit of resistance... and proves there is but little hope of receiving from his hands anything but obstruction and defiance..."
George Meade Autograph Letter Signed on Headquarters, Third Military District letterhead. 3 pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Atlanta, February 29, 1868. "The Constitutional Convention here recently passed a resolution asking the Comd. Genl. Of the District to [illegible] means for the payment o the expenses of the convention to include the 11th... to reach me to act ... I desire you will report to me at your earliest convenience, what amount will be probably be realized, on the special tax ... to be levied by the convention & from which this ... are to be met. I do not ... myself authorized to permit scrip to be issued for an amount that there is not every reason to believe will be covered by the collection of the special tax..." Near fine condition.
The archive also includes many drafts of letters and retained letter copies (totaling more than 40 written pages) sent by Ruger, with great content. Most notably:
Thomas Ruger Manuscript Signed. 13 pages, 7.75" x 12.5", Milledgeville, Georgia, July 1868. Addressed to Brigadier General Richard C. Drum, Ruger provides a detailed report of his activities as military governor of Georgia. Included is a financial accounting of all of the state revenues signed by Charles F. Rockwell. As of the filing of Ruger's report, neither the state seal nor any of the state's funds had been retrieved from the ousted administration. Of special note, Ruger can be credited for establishing the practice of leasing state penitentiary inmates to private companies; a practice with sometimes brutal results. Ruger's present report includes the details of a contract for the labor of 204 convicts which would relieve the state of the expense of their care as well as an income of $2500 per year.
Thomas Ruger Retained Letter Copy of an ALS to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. One page, February 24, 1868. "I have the honor to forward herewith resolution of the Constitutional Convention for the State of Georgia in compliance with the terms of ... resolution - The seal attached is the state seal and as such ordinarily used, The impress is not that of the "Great Seal" which is not in my possession."
Other highlights include:
Charles J. Jenkins Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, Washington City D.C., February 7, 1868. Jenkins writes to Ruger informing him that he has learned that Ruger has issued a warrant for his arrest and "that if this be so it puts and end to all communication, personal, or epistolary, between us." Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope. At the time of this letter, Jenkins was in Washington attempting to file a suit against Generals Meade, Grant, and Ruger in the Supreme Court on behalf of the State of Georgia. See lot 34075 in this auction.
John T. Burns signed manuscript parole and transmittal letter from John S. Ritter. Dated February 14, 1868, Burns agrees to confine himself "to the limits of the Post of Rome... and that I will bind myself to appear at any time and any place to which I may be cited by the said military authority." Ritter's letter of transmittal is endorsed on the Verso by General Richard C. Drum and General Caleb C. Sibley.
Constitution of the State of Georgia as Passed by the Constitutional Convention Assembled at Atlanta, GA., March 11th, 1868. 16pp, 6" x 9", uncut and untrimmed. Augusta, Georgia: E.H. Pughe, Book and Job Printer, 1868. A campaign printing for Rufus B. Bullock, who was running for Governor, and featuring a printed letter from Bullock addressed to the People of Georgia, accepting their nomination.
Overall condition of the archive is near fine. Document pages are exceptionally clean, with only light toning, and flattened folds. For a listing of additional items in this group go to HA.com/6080-13037.
Full list of items within:
Campbell Wallace ALS, one page, Atlanta, February 25, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding the transfer of $15,000 to the treasurer (Capt. Rockwell).
George W. Thomas ALS, four pages, Cave Spring, January 18, 1868, to Gen. George Meade regarding funds for the Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb.
Hiram Roberts ALS, two pages, Savannah, January 21, 1868, to Charles St. Hopkins regarding a loan of $40,000 offered for the Convention of the State of Georgia.
W. D. Williams ALS, two pages, Macon, January 24, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding "an Estimate of the Receipts and Wants of 'The Georgia Academy for the Blind.'"
Campbell Wallace ALS, two pages, Atlanta, January 24, 1868, to R. L. Hunter regarding the net earnings of the Western & Atlantic Rail Road for January through September .
Special Orders No. 14, one page, Atlanta, January 18, 1868, typed copy of orders authorizing Thomas Ruger to visit Atlanta before returning to Milledgeville.
Special Orders No. 17, one page, Atlanta, January 22, 1868, typed copy of orders moving the headquarters of the 33rd Regiment to Milledgeville from Atlanta.
John Jones AMS, two pages, Milledgeville, January 29, 1868, regarding his "parole of honor" after being arrested on the order of Gen. George Meade.
R. H. Lowry ALS, two pages, New York, February 1, 1868, to Thomas Ruger acknowledging the receipt of a letter ordering the bank to not pay any money on the account of the state of Georgia and acknowledging that the sum of $85,158.92 "stands to the credit of the State of Georgia."
Copies of Three Letters by Charles Jenkins to Irving, Edwards, & Holmes, four pages, London, December 28, 1864, and January 3 and 31, 1868, sent to Thomas Ruger by Irving, Edwards, & Holmes regarding the renewal of Sterling Bonds residing in their London bank.
Thomas Ruger AL, seven pages, Milledgeville, January 15, 1868, to Asst. Adjutant General Richard C. Drum regarding the arrest of former Governor Charles Jenkins and Treasurer John Jones.
Thomas Ruger AL, three pages, Atlanta, March 2, 1868, to Gen. George Meade regarding an inquiry into the amount likely to be received from the "special tax" as proposed by the State Convention.
Autograph Manuscript, three pages, Atlanta, 1868, to Ulysses S. Grant by Cipher Telegram procurement of funds for immediate use by the state and the settlement of the accounts of the State Road would be expedited quicker if transferred to an officer in Georgia rather than one in Washington.
Thomas Ruger AL, two pages, [Atlanta], January 18, 1867 (actually 1868), to the Bank of the Republic notifying them that John Jones was removed as Treasurer under the Reconstruction Acts and was replaced by Capt. Charles Rockwell who could not determine with certainty the condition of the public debt and asking for a statement if the bank is in control of any funds for the state.
Thomas Ruger ALS, one page, Milledgeville, January 18, 1868, to Gen. George Meade in reply to a telegram.
Thomas Ruger AL, five pages, Milledgeville, January 21, 1868, regarding the removal of Charles Jenkins as governor and John Jones as Treasurer and their theft of state money.
Thomas Ruger AL, two pages, Milledgeville, January 21, 1868, to the Bank of the Republic notifying them "not to pay any money on funds.pertaining to the treasury of the State of Georgia."
Thomas Ruger AL, three pages, Milledgeville, January 22, 1868, to Asst. Adjutant General Richard C. Drum informing him of the deposit of $15,200 in the Georgia National Bank by former treasurer John Jones and the delaying of the issue of a "proclamation" against him until the 10 days allowed by Georgia state law to turn over his records to his successor has expired.
Thomas Ruger AL, two pages, Milledgeville, January 23, 1868, to Gen. George G. Meade regarding the oath required of all candidates, as well as the lack of sufficient candidates, to be appointed to civil offices in the State of Georgia.
Thomas Ruger ALS, two pages, Milledgeville, January 23, 1868, to Charles Jenkins regarding the proceedings at the transfer of power to Ruger and he makes the statement that he was empowered to take the office by force if necessary.
Thomas Ruger AL, six pages, Milledgeville, January 25, 1868, regarding the impending arrest of former Governor Charles Jenkins.
Thomas Ruger AL, four pages (incomplete), Milledgeville, January 27, 1868, to Gen. George G. Meade regarding the financial situation of the State of Georgia.
Thomas Ruger AL, two pages, Milledgeville, January 27, 1868, to the National Bank of the Republic assuring them that his intention is not to harm the credit of the state.
Thomas Ruger AL, two pages, Milledgeville, January 27, 1868, to Gen. George G. Meade regarding the levying of a tax to pay for the financial needs of several state funded institutes.
George Meade Signed Special Orders, No. 8, Atlanta, January 13, 1868, removing Charles Jenkins and John Jones from office and appointing Thomas Ruger and Charles Rockwell as replacements.
George Meade ALS, two pages, Atlanta, January 13, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding Ruger's appointment as Military Governor and how to proceed in the handling of the government and the prosecution of certain cases. Also, Special Orders, No. 8, Atlanta, January 13, 1868, removing Charles Jenkins and John Jones from office and appointing Thomas Ruger and Charles Rockwell as replacements.
Thomas Ruger ALS, fifteen pages, Milledgeville, February 7, 1868, to George Meade transmitting papers showing an election was held to elect two Justices of the Peace in Bullock County which was in violation of General Orders No. 1 and bore the name of Ruger himself.
Thomas Ruger AL, three pages, Milledgeville, February 6, 1868, to George Meade regarding a letter from the sheriff of Warren County having received a request of the town authority of Warrenton, Georgia, to use the county jail for the use of municipal prisoners.
Thomas Ruger ALS, two pages, Milledgeville, January 29, 1868, to Hiram Roberts asking if a loan of $50,000 to relieve the treasury would be possible.
Thomas Ruger Report to the 3rd Military District as Governor Signed, eleven pages, Milledgeville, July, 1868, regarding the removal of Charles Jenkins as governor of GA and his theft of the state seal and records of warrant from the Treasury; the removal of John Jones as State Treasurer; the removal of Nathan Crawford Barnett as Georgia Secretary of State; the McArdle case; reconstruction acts; $40,000 required by the Constitutional Convention; removal and arrest of Janus McGowan, Chatham County Tax Collector. [and:] Autograph Document Unsigned, eight pages, Milledgeville, July 4, 1868, to Governor R. B. Bullock relating the condition of the state on Bullock's assumption of the governorship. [and:] Fair Copy of a Resolution appointing a committee to invite Thomas Ruger as Provisional Governor to attend the State Convention.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, February 13, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him that a copy of an ordinance to provide a means of "defraying expenses of the Convention" had been sent to him and how it would affect Ruger's financial plans.
Richard C. Drum Telegraph, Atlanta, February 13, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him of the arrest under Ruger's orders of Comptroller Burns and asking what he wants done with him.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, February 14, 1868, to Thomas Ruger asking if he thinks it better that the scrip should be issued by him rather than a financial agent of the Convention.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, February 28, 1868, to Thomas Ruger inquiring as to the progress of his preparation for issuing scrip and requesting to see him immediately.
George Meade ALS, three page, Atlanta, February 29, 1868, to Thomas Ruger asking for a report on the amount to be collected in the special tax ordered by the Convention; his views on the collecting the tax; and his judgment of the probable discount to be made in the assessment of the years 1868 and 1869 and whether collection should be postponed.
Richard C. Drum Telegraph, Atlanta, May 1, 1868, to Thomas Ruger asking if Aylesworth was elected as tax collector and, if not, would it be better to appoint the person elected; with transmittal envelope.
Special Orders, No. 71, Atlanta, April 6, 1868, approving a tour of the cities of Macon, Columbus, Savannah, and Bainbridge by Provisional Governor Gen. Thomas Ruger.
Daniel H. Rucker Letter, two pages, Washington, March 28, 1868, to George Meade regarding the transportation accounts and indebtedness of the Western & Atlantic Railroads; under the Secretary of War, a U. S. Treasury warrant was issued for $5,175 to be credited to the railroad and was sent to Campbell Wallace. A fair copy made for Thomas Ruger.
William McKee Dunn Letter, two pages, Atlanta, March 14, 1868, to Richard C. Drum recommending the appointment of a new tax collector to Chatham County and ordering the former collector to turn over all records to his successor or face imprisonment for no more than two years.
Richard C. Drum ALS, one page, Atlanta, March 16, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him of the enclosed copy of a letter from the Judge Advocate General William Dunn (see above letter) endorsing Ruger's recommendation to remove and charge James J. McGowan, tax collector, Chatham County, and replace him.
George Meade ALS, three pages, Atlanta, January 23, 1868, to Thomas Ruger to Thomas Ruger regarding the threatened closing of the Georgia National Bank by Meade if it acknowledges a deposit by former treasurer John Jones in the amount of $5,500 and he acknowledges that Jones' action displays defiance and obstruction; he also advises Ruger to tell the banks in Georgia that he has no wish to harm the credit of the state, but an unnecessary amount of money has been deposited for that purpose.
George Meade ALS, two pages, Atlanta, January 27, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding the removal of Georgia Secretary of State Nathan C. Barnett by Meade and the appointment of Capt. Wheaton, referencing the Georgia Constitution of 1865 and the Reconstruction Acts.
George Meade ALS, two pages, Atlanta, January 22, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding orders to transfer a portion of the 33rd Regiment to Milledgeville and informing Ruger not to begin proceedings against institutions holding Georgia state funds.
George Meade LS, four pages, Atlanta, January 18, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding the removal of John Jones as Treasurer and his removal of the records of the state treasury; he instructs Ruger to bring him before a tribunal for trial; he must also assess the financial situation of the state and devise measures for raising money for the state.
George Meade LS, four pages, Atlanta, January, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding a telegram received from Ulysses S. Grant recommending the adoption of Meade's suggestion to return part of the money paid to the account of the State of Georgia; Ruger is to reassess the needs of the charitable organizations and the penitentiary and report the minimum amount needed to enable them to function; also to open negotiations for a loan in the amount of $50,000 with a banker in Savannah who expressed interest in assisting the Convention.
Richard C. Drum ALS, one page, Atlanta, February 11, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding the approval by Meade on the action taken in the letter from the sheriff of Warren County.
John Ritter LS, one page, Rome [Georgia], February 15, 1868, to John E. Hosmer forwarding the parole of former Comptroller General John T. Burns; also the Parole of John T. Burns confining him to the Post of Rome, Georgia, and that he will appear when called upon, signed by Burns and countersigned by John Ritter as a witness.
Thomas Ruger Telegraph, Milledgeville, April 25, 1868, to Richard C. Drum regarding the killing of a man named Williams by Deputy Sheriff Brannon at the polls during the election. The deputy was subsequently jailed by order of a Lt. Johnson of Thomasville; Ruger asks if there is a Lt. Johnson on duty at Thomasville.
Thomas Ruger AL, one page, February 24, 1868, to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton forwarding a resolution of the Georgia Constitutional Convention with the State Seal, but not the Great Seal as that was taken by Charles Jenkins; also a printed copy of the Constitution of the State of Georgia as passed by the Constitutional Convention.
Special Orders, No. 151, Atlanta, July 13, 1868, approving the journey of Thomas Ruger from Milledgeville to Atlanta and back.
Richard C. Drum LS, one page, Atlanta, July 6, 1868, to Thomas Ruger requesting the return of papers in the Collard alias Jeffries case.
Richard C. Drum Telegraph, Atlanta, May 5, 1868, to Thomas Ruger, in full: "Yes, and would be glad to see you."
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, January 17, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding rescinding Jenkins order to halt the collection of taxes and directing Capt. Rockwell (provisional Treasurer) to suspend payments from the State Treasury until further notified by head quarters.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, March 7, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him of a resolution passed by the Convention that requires tax collectors to receive scrip and warrants to pay members of the Convention, which is against what Ruger agreed to.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, January 23, 1868, to Thomas Ruger urging him to use his judgment with regards to the "proclamation" and all other matters.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, January 31, 1868, to Thomas Ruger requesting his presence the next day or day after.
George Meade Telegraph, Atlanta, January 25, 1868, to Provisional Treasurer Capt. Charles Rockwell ordering him not to draw the $5,500 in the account of former Treasurer John Jones until further ordered.
Columbus Enquirer, Vol. X, No. 15. January 17, 1868, contains an article printing the documents and letters of the proceedings that lead up to the removal of Charles Jenkins and John Jones; article "Proceedings of the Georgia Unconstitutional Convention" regarding the request by the Convention to the U. S. Congress for the establishment of a provisional civilian government for the state of Georgia and resolutions put forth by delegates.
Richard C. Drum Telegram, Atlanta, February 7, 1868, to Major General Edward Canby granting permission from George Meade for a detective from Canby's district to arrest fugitives in Georgia.
Consolidated Statement of the Public Debt of the State of Georgia, on the 1st July, 1867, shewing date of issue and maturity of outstanding Bonds, Annual interest on each issue, and Total Annual Payments. In 6 categories showing When Due (year), When Issued (year), Annual Amounts, Annual Interest on each Issue, Total Interest due each Year, and Total Amounts due each Year; from Treasurer John Jones; also the Assets and Resources of the State of Georgia.
Iverson S. Harris ALS, one page, Milledgeville, July 13, 1868, to Thomas Ruger as chairman of a committee of citizens of Milledgeville to express their gratitude in regards to the discharge of his duty as provisional governor; also, the resolutions by the committee stating the above.
General Orders No. 108, July 30, 1868, ordering Ruger to take control of the District of Alabama and also appointing him as assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau in Alabama.
Thomas Ruger Letter, one page, Milledgeville, February 24, 1868, to the National Bank of the Republic modifying the order not to pay from the account of the state or John Jones to not include payments for interest on the public debt of the state.
Richard C. Drum ALS, one page, Atlanta, February 21, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him of the arrest of the former tax collector of Chatham County, Georgia, James J. McGowan and his detention in Savannah.
John Ritter LS, one page, Rome [Georgia], February 16, 1868, to Thomas Ruger regarding the arrest and release (on parole) of former Comptroller John Burns with accompanying copy of the parole oath.
Richard C. Drum ALS, one page, Atlanta, February 27, 1868, to Thomas Ruger acknowledging the receipt of a letter from Capt. Wheaton requesting the appointment of a tax collector for Wilker County; Ruger is to make nominations of suitable candidates, whereupon test oaths will be given.
Report of the Treasurer of the State of Georgia made to the Governor, October 16, 1866.
Charles Jenkins ALS, two pages, Washington, February 7, 1868, to Thomas Ruger about the rumor of a requisition of his arrest by Ruger.
Richard C. Drum ALS, one page, Atlanta, February 7, 1868, to Thomas Ruger informing him of Meade's decision to allow detectives of the 2nd District to apprehend fugitives from the 3rd District and for Ruger to cooperate when necessary.
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