The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 26
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
having several conservative senators placed under arrest and ex-
cluded from the chamber while the vote was being taken.'
The Militia Act, as eventually passed, authorized the forma-
tion of a military force composed of men between the ages of
eighteen and forty-five, divided into two components; the State
Guards, or active duty troops, were to be enrolled, armed, and
drilled in each county; the Reserve Militia was to furnish a reser-
voir of manpower for emergency mobilization. The governor
was made ex officio commander-in-chief and was given explicit
power to call out the militia whenever, in his view, such action
seemed warranted. He was further empowered to assess and col-
lect taxes from troublesome counties in order to defray militia
costs therein. His personal grip on the militia was further
strengthened by placing in his hands complete control over the
selection of officers.8
Reaction to the militia law was instantaneous. Davis' oppon-
ents hastily forwarded a petition to Congress seeking relief, claim-
ing that the act created a standing army, and pointing out that
his actions were in violation of existing law." Not all sentiment
was opposed to the militia, however, for the governor received
the following encouraging communication from a negro politi-
cian in Hopkins County: "All the Union mens of this county
is proud of the militia and Police law and hopes you will inforce
them. We have many roughies here should be tried by the mili-
In spite of the existing federal law which prohibited the forma-
tion of militia forces in the Southern States, but apparently with
the tacit approval of Congress, Davis began to organize his force.
His first act was to appoint to the dual post of adjutant general
and chief of police an ex-Union Army officer, James Davidson,'
7Senate Journal of the Twelfth Legislature of the State of Texas (Austin, 1870),
sH. P. N. Gammel (comp.), The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897 (io vols.; Austin,
1898), VI, 185.
oDaily Austin Republican, July 27, 1870.
o1Letter from A. P. Brown to E. J. Davis, quoted in J. Mason Brewer, Negro
Legislators of Texas (Dallas, 1935), 57-58.
11Appointment dated June 24, 1870 (MS., Executive Record Book No. 284, Texas
State Library, Austin).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/39/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.