The Dark Side of the PMD was the tremendous amount of paperwork that
needed to be filled out by the Provost Marshal!
this end, the Provost Marshal had at least one clerk, and many more,
depending on the size of his office. Several clerks would be under the
command of a Chief
THE CHARGE SHEET.
could be "initiated" by anyone, civilian or military, reporting
a crime by a person subject to military law.
charges could only be "preferred" by persons subject to
military law. This "accuser" signs the charges and he either
initiates them, or adopts them and becomes responsible for them. On
August 28, 1861, MG McClellan issued a circular describing the proper
method for drawing up these charges.
complaints by citizens against soldiers were for depredations caused by
their hand. This petition was for reimbursement for their loss.
statements by accusers or witnesses would be taken down on a special
charges were filed, the suspect was arrested and an arrest report had to
be filled out. Within 24 hours of the arrest, a copy of the charges
& arrest report were to be delivered to the offender's commanding
A list of
all Prisoners had to be kept, showing all pertinent information about
Provost Marshal was bound to conduct an investigation into the alleged
crimes. A report of these investigations had to be kept.
depredations were found to be true, a voucher for reimbursement was
issued by the Provost Marshal. (This would be taken to a disbursing
Quarter Master for cashing)
prisoners had to be sent to the back lines for trial or deposition. An
order for this had to be written. Once at the transfer point, the
officer accepting the prisoner had to sign for them.
Although the Provost
Marshal did not run the court martial, he was required to be present,
and in the field, drum head court martials were often held at his tent.
There were also Provost Courts, where the Provost Marshal would act as
APPOINTING A COURT MARTIAL.
order establishing the court martial or provost court had to be issued.
proceedings of the trial had to be recorded. In some cases this had to
be submitted to the commanding general, and sometimes even the President
the trial ended, a proclamation of the results had to be made. These were
usually endorsed by the commanding general, and sometimes also by the
sentence demanded death, an Execution Order had to be written. This
order would be read by the Provost Marshal at the execution.
Prisoners of War were to be delivered to the nearest Provost Marshal.
These POWs could be dealt with in a number of ways. They could be
released on parole, exchanged in the field, or sent to the rear to a
was required to give his name, rank, and unit to which he belonged.
These were recorded on a special form, similar to the one used for
POWs were to be sent to the next level of PMO, an order for their
transfer had to be written, and the receiving Provost Marshal had to
sign a receipt for them.
would take the Oath Of Allegance to the US, and be sent to north to be
free rather than a POW camp.
take an oath, not to fight against the US until they were duly
exchanged. They could then go home, and wait for an official exchange
notice from the War Dept., when they were then released from their oath
and could once again fight.
report of those POWs parolled had to be sent to the War Dept., so that
they could process them for proper exchange.
parolled POWs would either be escorted to their lines, or were given a
safe conduct pass to travel their on their own.
EXCHANGE IN THE FIELD.
exchange was to take place in the field, orders for this had to be
Recruiting and Conscription.
1863, Volunteer Recruiting and Conscription fell under the Provost
filled out by the Provost Marshal for all volunteers.
LIST OF RECRUITS.
accepted recruit had his name and description entered on a special list.
showing leadership abilities were often appointed the temporary rank of
Lance Corporal or Lance Sergeant and these would be placed over the
form was required for the transportation of these new recruits to the
Provost Marshal was also responsible for issuing the draft notices and
another list, this one of persons drafted, was kept.
Many persons were disqualified for one reason or another, and certificates
for these had to be issued:
OF EXEMPTION DUE TO DISABILITY
OF EXEMPTION DUE TO AGE
OF EXEMPTION DUE TO SON OF A WIDOW
OF EXEMPTION DUE TO HAVING FURNISHED A SUBSTITUTE
VOLUNTEER ENLISTMENT FORM.
substitute was furnished, a special Enlistment form was used.
All persons applying for admission into Union lines would be escorted to
the nearest Provost Marshal who would examine them. Those satisfying the
Provost Marshal and taking the Oath of Allegance to the US would be
issued a pass.
within army lines was required to take the Oath of Allegance to the US.
baggage and packages had to be inspected by the Provost Marshal's Dept.
for contraband goods. Those passing the inspection would be issued a
permit for them to be taken thru the lines. If contraband was found, all
would be confiscated.
could apply for a safeguard to protect their property. This might be as
simple as the official safeguard document itself, or might also include
an armed guard.
civilians were found not to be loyal to the Union and would refuse to
take the Oath of Allegance. An alternative to being arrested was to take
the Parole of Honor, stating that they would not bear arms against the
US, nor aide the enemy in any way. These persons were required to stay
within the boundary of their county and were to report to the Provost
Marshal every seven days.
Returns and Correspondence.
Orders stated that Provost Marshals were to submit a daily report to the
PMG. This was to include a list of the forces under his command, list of
Federal and Civilian prisoners, a list of POWs and the disposition of
his Provost Guards.
over a specific period of time, this would give charges and disposition
of all prisoners and sub divided as to Federal, Civilian or Confederate
BUSINESS AND GENERAL TRANSACTIONS.
This was a
monthly report in the form of a letter, subdivided by subjects; and
covering all aspects of the PMO.
month the Provost Marshal was to forward to the PMG a Return of their
present command, including any civilians employed by them.
General or Special Orders would be in letter form. It would state at the
head: the source, place and date; and at the foot: the name of the
Provost Marshal who issued it.
letters were to refer to one subject only. A letter of Transmittal was
to accompany all reports, returns and accounts. All correspondence was
to be marked on the cover: "Official Business."
dispatch is a message sent in haste by a special messenger. The precise
time it was sent off was to be written on the cover.
had a special form and were only to be used in urgent and imperative
Vouchers Requisitions and Abstracts.
Like any organization within the army, there were various other mundane
forms, each with their own special
for such articles where the allowance is regulated and fixed by law.)
(Where the articles required are rendered necessary for some cause.)
When Provost Marshals found it impracticable to obtain necessary
supplies from the normal Military
Departments, he could purchase them from private contractors. These
accounts would state the items and the
cost and from whom purchased.
No Account was to be submitted without a voucher to support it. All
vouchers had to be accompanied by the
receipt as a sub-voucher. In addition to the above, there were vouchers
Everything bought, lost, destroyed or expended had to be accounted for
in an abstract.
THE PROVOST GUARD REPORT.
was filled out every day showing the Provost Guard available and their
disposition as to posts, patrols or
ORDERS TO THE PG.
These were orders that all the provost guards, regardless of their post,
were to observe.
ORDERS TO THE PG.
These were special for each particular post. For example, the PG at the
detention area had special orders regarding the prisoners.