The Amnesty and Parole of Honor of James R Marmion
This first document is James R. Marmion's parole certificate (not a letter) issued by Lieutenant Colonel James L. Bates, a Federal Provost Marshal, at Indianola , Texas on July 7, 1865. The Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department was officially surrendered on May 26, 1865 at New Orleans , Louisiana , but the surrender documents were not signed by Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith until June 3, 1865 aboard a Federal warship sent to Galveston Harbor for that purpose. Smith was in Houston at the time his subordinates negotiated the surrender agreement with Federal authorities in New Orleans . All Confederates under Smith's T-M Department command then became technically prisoners of war. This does not mean that any of them were sent off to POW camps. Most of the soldiers in the T-M Department had already disbanded and gone home by mid-May 1865, so it became necessary to require them to report into a Federal parole center nearest their homes to be accounted for and then released upon their personal parole to go back home. The notice of this requirement was spread by printed circular, newspapers, and word of mouth. Others who had remained at their duty stations (usually the officers such as Captain James R. Marmion) waited until word of the surrender officially reached them, and were released on parole from their duty station as soon as Federal Provost Marshals could get to these stations.

My interpretation of James R. Marmion's Parole of Honor certificate is that his duty station was at Matagorda , Texas where he commanded the Marine District of Matagorda, and that eventually the Federals got around to setting up a Provost Marshal office at Indianola , Texas . When that happened, then JRM reported into the Provost Marshal to be accounted for under the surrender agreement and to give his Parole of Honor. In return he was immediately released from his technical status of a surrendered prisoner of war which had existed since June 3rd. At the end of the Parole of Honor certificate is written the Federal government's promise that The above named officer will not be disturbed by the United States authorities, as long as he observes his parole, and the laws in force where he resides.

Signing of the Parole of Honor was a requirement of the surrender agreement. Refusal to sign the parole would have resulted in his being imprisoned. This release on parole allowed him to be free and a resident of the United States . It did not, however, make him a citizen of the United States .

President Andrew Johnson issued his first Amnesty Proclamation on May 29, 1865 granting full pardon to all who had taken part in the rebellion in exchange for their taking an Oath of Allegiance. Individuals who had been high ranking civil, military, and government officials of the Confederate States , and those with taxable property in excess of $20,000, had to apply personally to the President for their pardons. Taking the Oath of Allegiance under the provisions of this first Amnesty Proclamation has an entirely different meaning and intent from the giving and receiving of a final military parole. Taking the Oath of Allegiance was an act which restored one's citizenship (or, if you prefer, granted one citizenship in Mr. Lincoln's new and more perfect Union ). The military parole was a promise to refrain from further armed resistance against Federal authority in exchange for one's personal freedom to go where one pleased. Violation of this military parole could result in a former Confederate soldier being imprisoned. Otherwise, the ex-Confederate soldier could not be legally prosecuted or persecuted for his role in the war.

The second document that you copied for my inspection is James R. Marmion's Amnesty Oath signed the next day, July 8, 1865, at Indianola , Texas before the same Federal Provost Marshal, Lieutenant Colonel James L. Bates. This act was an entirely voluntary act on the part of JRM but was necessary if he wanted to vote, buy or sell property, or any other of the legal things that required citizenship. This Amnesty Oath is a variation of the standard Oath of Allegiance requiring the signer to acknowledge the emancipation of the slaves.

Hope this explains things!

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