HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 10.
Washington, February 4, 1862.
The following act of Congress is published for the information of all concerned:
AN ACT to authorize the President of the United States in certain cases to take possession of railroad and telegraph lines, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States, when in his judgment the public safety may require it, be, and he is hereby, authorized to take possession of any or all the telegraph lines in the United States, their offices and appurtenances; to take possession of any or all the railroad lines in the United States, their rolling-stock, their offices, shops, buildings, and all their appendages and appurtenances; to prescribe rules and regulations for the holding, using, and maintaining of the aforesaid telegraph and railroad lines, and to extend, repair, and complete the same, in the manner most conducive to the safety and interest of the Government; to place under military control all the officers, agents, and employes belonging to the telegraph and railroad lines thus taken possession of by the President, so that they shall be considered as a post road and a part of the military establishment of the United States, subject to all the restrictions imposed by the Rules and Articles of War.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That any attempt by any party or parties whomsoever, in any State or District in which the laws of the United States are opposed, or the execution thereof obstructed by insurgents and rebels against the United States, too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, to resist or interfere with the unrestrained use by Government of the property described in the preceding section, or any attempt to injure or destroy the property aforesaid, shall be punished as a miliary offense, by death, or such other penalty as a court-martial may impose.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That three commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to assess and determine the damages suffered, or the compensation to which any railroad or telegraph company may be entitled by reason of the railroad or telegraph line being seized and used under the authority conferred by this act, and their award shall be submitted to Congress for their action.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the transportation of troops, munitions of war, equipments, military property, and stores, throughout the United States, shall be under the immediate control and supervision of the Secretary of War and such agents as he may appoint; and all rules, regulations, articles, usages, and laws in conflict with this provision are hereby annulled.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That the compensation of each of the commissioners aforesaid shall be eight dollars per day while in actual service; and that the provisions of this act, so far as it relates to the operationg and using said railroads and telegraphs, shall not be in force any longer than is necessary for the suppression of this rebellion.
Approved January 31, 1862.
By command of Major-General McClellan: