Army Code of Conduct, The Civil War, 186165
to civilians. After shelling cities, but before burning them,
try to give the surviving women & children time to escape
if this does not interfere with your schedule of advance.
Allow them to take their most treasured possessions; this
will facilitate subsequent requisitioning of valuables.
be overly hasty in burning the homes of enemy civilians. Try
to take time to first remove the silver, gold, jewelry and
other transportable booty of war.
officer who permits or commits atrocities against civilians
can expect to have his promotion to general held up until
after his court martial is completed.
compassion when occupying enemy cities. When raping women,
separate them from their children first; never rape a woman
and her daughter in the same room.
have to shoot a father or husband trying to protect a woman
with whom you are forcibly having sexual relations, try to
refrain from openly laughing about it in her presence, as
this might cause additional and unnecessary stress. However,
afterwards, as a morale booster, you may want to prop up the
dead body in a comical position for the amusement of your
to animals. Shooting enemy livestock, horses, & pets between
the eyes provides the quickest & most humane death, unless
you are short on ammunition. If you nail a pet dog to a family's
front door, first make sure the beast is dead, or at least
dying. This display of a beloved pet could be considered gruesome
by sensitive individuals, and may result in temporarily upsetting
enemy civilians. But remember the importance of boosting the
morale of your troops through whatever spontaneous recreational
opportunities may arise.
on the shooting of civilians and on firing indiscriminately
into crowds of rowdy people do not apply to draft riots and
other civil disturbances in cities in the United States of
America, especially if they involve newly-arrived immigrants.
your religiously and morally observant soldiers not to be
dismayed by the utter destruction we are inflicting on the
South and its civilian population. After the War, we will
institute a major "Reconstruction" program.
have men under your command who are especially skilled at
and delight in openly and wantonly killing women & children,
immediately have them transferred to the West, where they
are needed in our war against the Indians.
are extra opportunities available for troops who have excelled
at warfare against civilians and who are desirous of engaging
in post-War genocide in the cause of Freedom and Union. They
may be eligible to apply to generals Grant, Sherman, Sheridan,
or Custer for extensions of their tours of duty and eventual
transfer to the Western Theater’s Indian Wars, which these
officers will be leading. Experience in killing helpless women
and children preferred.
Colored Troops ("Buffalo Soldiers"), whenever possible,
to wipe out the Indians, you can accomplish your objectives
while avoiding the appearance of "racism" and "imperialism."
observing a Union soldier engaging secretly in the looting
of valuables shall report to his superior officer the name
and unit of the perpetrator and the types and number of valuables
being taken. This will allow a proper distribution and sharing
of the goods that are appropriated.
when appropriating silver & other valuables from homes.
Try to minimize the anguish of the family involved. For example,
if silver service is being requisitioned, promise to return
it after it is used for that evening’s meal. Remember to treat
these valuables with care and respect, and that they must
be shared with your commander and other officers.
requisition or remove hard-to-transport valuables such as
paintings, books, historical documents, family Bibles, furniture,
or large antiques. These categories are generally not to be
looted, but should be burned instead. In the case of bales
of cotton, check with your quartermaster.
your Confederate POW’s with respect. After they surrender,
shooting just a few prisners should suffice to intimidate
the rest. It may not be necessary, in most circumstances,
to shoot them all, even though they are guilty of the capital
offense of treason. Such restraint will also aid in the conservation
can be useful in maintaining the morale of your troops under
difficult circumstances. Be creative in utilizing such entertainment
for your men. Consider the fact that a large number of your
Rebel POW’s will be hungry, shoeless, and in tattered uniforms,
and many will be young boys and old men. Calling attention
to the plight of the Rebels in a scornful and derisive manner
can elevate the self-esteem of your men. This may also provide
important recreational opportunities for your troops, such
as engaging in humiliation and derision of your prisoners
and their quaint devotion to "honor" and ‘country."
prison administrator and guard should familiarize himself
with and closely adhere to the rules governing the care and
treatment of POW’s, which should meet or exceed "Point
Lookout" standards. For example, it is strictly required
that one blanket be issued for every sixteen prisoners. No
more than forty prisoners may be placed in Sibley tents designed
to hold 16 men.
our duty to ensure that prisoner deaths from starvation, malnutrition,
disease, and shootings not exceed 25%, and incidences of diarrhea
and malaria be held to under 50%. If the prison is located
on a swamp or shoreline, be alert for possibilities to supplement
prisoners’ diet with dead seagulls and rotting fish on the
beach. And while infestations of lice and rodents may be considered
by some to be a nuisance, it can also be an important source
of protein when other nourishment is scarce or unavailable.
from the sale of food and clothing diverted from POW’s must
be properly accounted for and shared with superior officers.
in mind that the high incidence of malnutrition and disease
among POW’s, while regrettable in some respects, serves to
weaken the prisoners, lessen the chances of escape, and ultimately
mean fewer mouths to feed.
aforementioned rules on POW’s do not apply to The Indian Wars,
as we do not take Indians prisoner. Policy in this regard
is governed by General Philip Sheridan’s dictum, "A good
Indian is a dead Indian."
burning cities, libraries, courthouses, hospitals, churches,
and other such institutions and structures in the South, always
blame retreating Confederates.
worry that burning crops & farms will deny food to Union
POW's held by the South; starving Union prisoners will provide
us with good propaganda, and after the War, an excuse for
war crimes trials. .
be too eager to attack the enemy; remember that our manpower
reserves are virtually unlimited. Wait for your reinforcements
& until you outnumber the enemy 5 to 1, or even better,
10 to 1. Consider having your units of Colored Troops lead
the charge and take most of the casualties.
shooting retreating US Colored Troops, try to place the blame
on the Confederates for such "massacres."
ON SLAVES AND SLAVERY
or some of your men, or your families, own slaves, do not
be concerned about The Emancipation Proclamation, it does
not apply to you, only to the States in Rebellion.
unit is being followed and bothered by liberated slaves, the
best way to get rid of this nuisance is to cross a river and
burn the bridge. Do not delay your advance by trying to save
freed slaves who appear to be drowning while trying to cross
the river. They may just be exuberantly enjoying a dip in
the water. In any event, our mission is to free the Southern
slaves, not feed and take care of them.
worry about the temporary state of lawlessness and chaos among
freed slaves. President Lincoln has promised to send most
of them back to Africa ("Colonization": "Send
them to Liberia, their own native land"), and has assured
that those who remain will never be treated as the equal of
lynching of uncooperative freed slaves is discouraged when
done openly, except when helpful to morale or to set an example
for others, or when a slave refuses to leave his home and
remains loyal to his or her former owners.
to expedite our War being fought for Human Rights and against
the oppression of the Negro, all military units are to be
kept strictly segregated, and salaries for U.S. Colored Troops
are to be calculated at approximately 50% those of whites.
MORALE OF THE TROOPS
to "Live off the land" when conducting operations
in enemy territory shall be liberally interpreted, as a virtually
unlimited right to loot, pillage, burn, rape, and destroy.
remember, we are fighting for freedom and liberty. That is
why it is necessary to close any Northern newspaper and jail
anyone that opposes our cause; to shoot antiwar demonstrators
in New York; to starve and burn the cities of enemy civilians;
to expel "Jews as a class" from conquered territories;
and to extirpate the Native Americans from their homelands.
morale can often be improved by permitting limited and appropriate
interaction with Rebel POW’s. This can also benefit the prisoners
by providing opportunities for exercise and play. Some recommended
activities (which have been successfully employed at Point
Lookout) include: having prisoners kneel and pray for President
Lincoln, and carry prison guards around on their backs. However,
care must be observed in such interactions as many if not
most prisoners suffer from diarrhea, typhoid fever, malaria,
and other diseases.
cases, it has been found that shooting prisoners randomly
at night while they sleep has effectively raised morale among
guards while providing increased discipline among the POW’s.
our troops have been indoctrinated with the view that the
enemy consists of evil racists and traitors fighting for slavery
, be prepared for your men to become confused when they encounter
among enemy soldiers large numbers of Native Americans, Jews,
Hispanics, Asians, poor Irish and Italian immigrants, even
black Confederates, and almost no owners of slaves
all of whom think they are fighting against an invasion from
to inquiries from your troops who wonder what they are doing
in the South by repeatedly emphasizing that "the War
is being fought to end slavery and free the slaves."
If asked about the slaves owned by General Grant and other
Northerners, deny they exist.
strictly forbidden to call The Commander in Chief, even jokingly,
a "tyrant," a "dictator,’ a "warmonger,"
"mentally ill," or more commonly, "an ape."
President Lincoln is rather to be referred to as "The
Great Emancipator," "The Great Conciliator,"
or in other such laudatory terms. He is unaware of and not
responsible for any atrocities that have occurred (such as
the burning of cities), even if he ordered them.
Lincoln is to be portrayed in all writings as "wise",
"kind," "compassionate," "a healer,"
and pictured whenever possible with his arm around his young
son, Tad. Southern leaders, including Robert E. Lee, are to
be described as cruel and evil, and fighting to defend not
their homeland but slavery, even if they oppose the institution.
the honor of the Union soldier and the vindication of our cause,
as reflected in this Code of Conduct, are of paramount concern
in our waging of this War. It is therefore of the utmost importance
that the story of this conflict be properly and accurately recorded.
That is why
any erroneous accounts those that contradict our version of
events should be eliminated or discredited, through the burning
or other destruction of cities, libraries, homes, courthouses,
and any other Confederate repositories of historical documents
as we write it, will be our judge.
– as we tell it – shall prevail.
rules of conduct, unwritten until now, were compiled, satirically,
based on actual, documented policies, behavior, incidents, and
activities undertaken by the United States Army and government
during, and for a few years after, The War Between the States.
Some were based on the recorded experiences of members of my family
(about three dozen of whom fought for the Confederacy), who were
subjected to death in battle, execution, imprisonment, and occupation
of their home by the Yankees. This document can be reprinted and
posted with permission and only in its entirety, as long as the
copyright and credit at end are included.)
Regenstein [send him
mail], a Native Atlantan, is a writer and author.
© 2003 Lewis Regenstein