Presidential Reconstruction in Texas. 277
PRESIDENTIAL RECONSTRUCTION IN TEXAS.
CHARLES W. RAMSDELL.
I. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT.
1. The Inauguration of Provisional Government.
On June 17, 1865, soon after it became known that armed re-
sistance had ceased in the Trans-Mississippi Department and that
troops had been despatched to occupy Galveston, President John-
son, in pursuance of the policy already adopted in other Southern
States, appointed A. J. Hamilton provisional governor of Texas.
HIamilton was a native of Alabama who had come to Texas in
1847 and had become prominent in politics before the war. He
had been Attorney-General of the State and in 1858 had been
elected to Congress. Along with Houston and others he had vig-
orously opposed secession and refused adhesion to the Confederacy,
but had remained in Texas until 1862, when, threatened with
military arrest, he escaped into Mexico and thence to New Orleans.
Here he entered the Federal army as a brigadier-general of volun-
teers, and in 1863, when the Brownsville-Red River expedition
into Texas was projected, he was given a commission as military
Governor of the State by President Lincoln. He was, therefore,
regarded by President Johnson as logically the man for Provisional
Governor after the surrender of the Confederate authorities. Ham-
ilton was a man of energy and ability, of sturdy honesty, aggres-
sive and uncompromising, and though prone, when excited, to vio-
lence and harshness of speech, restrained and governed in action
by an unfailing generosity and abundant common sense. He
was an orator of extraordinary power and had enjoyed the repu-
tation of being one of the ablest lawyers in the South. The news
of his appointment was received with general satisfaction by the
Unionists and with some misgivings on the part of those who
feared he was returning for purposes of vengeance.
The proclamation which contained his appointment declared it
to be the duty of the United States to guarantee to each State
a republican form of government, and that, in-as-much as the
Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 11, July 1907 - April, 1908. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101045/. Accessed July 3, 2015.