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Civil War
00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1a20000The Schreiner University Department of History is honoring the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War with a series of short vignettes focusing on events from 1861 through 1865. The Civil War was the most destructive conflict in American history, but it was also one of our most defining moments as a people and as a nation. Let us know what you think about "This Week in the Civil War." E-mail your comments to Dr. John Huddleston at jhuddles@schreiner.edu.Airs: Weekdays at 5:19 a.m., 8:19 a.m., 4:19 p.m. on KTXI and 4:49 a.m., 9:29 p.m. on KSTX.

This Week in the Civil War - 441

On Thursday, November 13, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln reluctantly charged Attorney General Edward Bates with enforcement of the Federal Confiscation Act.  

Congress in 1861 and 1862 passed laws permitting the Union government to seize all the real and personal property of anyone taking up arms against the government, anyone aiding the rebellion directly, or anyone offering aid or comfort to the rebellion.

Yet from 1862 to the end of the war, only a small amount of rebel property was ever confiscated.  Lincoln remained ambivalent about confiscation, once calling it “a corruption of blood prohibited by the Constitution.”  Even more importantly, the confiscation act provided little by way of instructions on its enforcement.

Given the president’s ambivalence, Attorney General Bates did little to actively enforce the law.