Missouri Digital Heritage :: Divided Loyalties Opening Exhibit :: Divided Loyalties Audio Tour :: Panel 15 - Martial Law - (Loyalty, Vigilante Justice)


Divided Loyalties Audio Tour
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[ Audio Transcript ]

Panel 15 - Martial Law

- Loyalty, Vigilante Justice -

Both the Confederate and Union troops tried to impose their views on the people. The Union-backed provisional government declared martial law in effect. This meant, among other things, that Missourians had to have a military pass in order to travel. In order to get a pass, you had to take an oath of loyalty to the Union. Martial law remained in effect for most of the war.

  • The Confiscation Act of 1862, shown on this panel, was an attempt by the federal government to punish Confederate sympathizers. This act declared that any slaves encountered by the Union army whose owners were rebels would be freed immediately. This was a first step toward emancipation; however it did not grant the freed slaves any civil rights.
  • Vigilantes (who were often soldiers) often terrorized the citizenry, imposing harsh punishments or even death for anyone who chose the wrong side. The depositions featured on this panel are from witnesses of alleged assaults carried out by Militia Captain H.R. Parson.

During this time, many Missourians lived in constant fear. Choosing a side in this conflict was more than just a private decision, and was based on more than personal political views.



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