GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA, No. 52.
Barrancas, May 24, 1865.
Special Orders, No. 126, current series, dated May 23, relative to a meeting of citizens of West Florida at Pensacola this day, with the view of taking preliminary steps for the reorganization of civil government, and directing the military at that place not to interfere in any manner with such meeting so long as properly conducted, is hereby modified in strict accordance with instructions just received from headquarters Army and Division of West Mississippi, dated Mobile, May 22, 1865, as follows:
Private meetings of citizens, having for their avowed and real object the return of the rebellious States to the Union, are permitted. The proceedings will be reported to these headquarters, to be forwarded for the information of the General Government, but all meetings within insurrectionary States for legislative purposes are forbidden, and all parties attempting to assemble for such purposes will be arrested and imprisoned pending the action of the General Government.
The civil officers of the rebel general or State governments are not included in the capitulation of the military forces, and no such civil officers within the limits of this district can be recognized as authorized to exercise in any manner whatever the functions of their late officers. Any such attempt will be prevented by military force if necessary, but in notifying them that military commanders have no authority to entertain any question touching the political relations of the seceded States to the General Government, or the status of citizens, they are advised to return to their posts, taking with them the archives and other property in their charge, and to report to the proper military authorities to await the action of the Government in their cases. When this is done in good faith they can be allowed to remain at their homes without molestation from the military authorities, so long as they conduct themselves with propriety and there is no attempt to evade the legal responsibilities they have incurred. This, of course, does not include the high officers of the Confederate or State governments in insurrection. For the common interest of the Government and the people all judicial law and other records affecting the title of property and other private interests should be secured and preserved, and the respective post provost-marshals will spare no exertion to obtain possession of them.
Commanding officers of posts and post provost-marshals will see that this order is strictly complied with.
By order of Brigadier-General Asboth:
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, May 24, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General, Army and Division of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that a portion of the One hundred and sixty-first Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry has arrived on the steamer N. P. Banks, but that the Eighty-second U. S. Colored Infantry, with the balance of the former regiment and a naval convoy,