Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Fifth Military district created by the First Reconstruction Act

March 2nd, 1867

https://www.tshaonline.org/images/handbook/entries/Philip Henry Sheridan (1831–1888), Commander of the Fifth Military District
Image taken at random from the related Handbook of Texas entry, Fifth Military District

On this day in 1867, the United States Congress passed the First Reconstruction Act, thereby dividing the defeated South into five military districts, of which Louisiana and Texas, under Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan at New Orleans, constituted the Fifth Military District. Under the leadership of Sheridan, Charles Griffin, Winfield Scott Hancock, Joseph Mower, Joseph Reynolds, and Edward Canby, the military district presided over Congressional Reconstruction in Texas. The constant turnover in commanders and the relatively small number of troops in the state made the army more annoying than effective. Military officials intervened intermittently in political matters by controlling voter registration and by removing office holders who impeded Reconstruction efforts. With the notable exception of Hancock, most commanders favored the Republican party. In April 1870 Texas was readmitted to the Union and the Fifth Military District ceased to exist.

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