What Was the Point to Establishing Military Districts in the South During Reconstruction

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

what was the point to establishing military districts in the south during reconstruction

The reconstruction of a country split out by decades of brutal battle posed the United States. After that, there was an immense problem in the decade that followed the Civil War.

What was the point to establishing military districts in the South during reconstruction? It is to eradicate slavery in southern states, reconstruct their lands, and plead allegiance to the Union.

In this article, we’ll look into why military districts were created in the South during The Reconstruction, also how they were meant to help the federal government accomplish its objectives.

Map of Reconstruction Districts


The picture above is the reconstruction military districts map of the five districts of the South. The different colors for each district shown on the map were created during reconstruction.

The First Reconstruction Act was passed in the U.S. Congress in February 1867, but President Andrew Johnson’s veto pushed it to March 2, 1867. It includes the number of military districts in the south during reconstruction.

Reason the South Divided Into Military Districts

After the Civil War, the United States went through a difficult phase known as the Reconstruction era. It is years of rebuilding the Southern states and amendment of new laws.

President Andrew Johnson established the Presidential Reconstruction period, which lasted for two years. He divided the south into five military districts.

The First Reconstruction Act or the Military Reconstruction Acts of 1867 involves the Military Reconstruction Plan. On March 23, 1867, the Second Reconstruction Act was established. It still endorses the Military Reconstruction Act.

But, there will be more deployment of Union troops throughout all Southern states. It is to uphold law and order and help state political voting.


So, what was the main goal of the military reconstruction act, and what did it hope to accomplish?

The purpose of establishing southern military districts during reconstruction was to help accomplish the goals of the federal government during Reconstruction.

The Definition of Reconstruction Act of 1867


The act of 1867 entails that the Union divided the former Confederacy into five military districts under the control of a Union general.

With this in mind, the newly founded state governments promoted the Union’s goals and defended everyone’s rights. This included the freed enslaved people in the southern states.

Reconstruction Military Districts


There are 5 military districts. They are as follows:

1. The First Military District or Military District No. 1: Virginia. It is the smallest state among four other military districts.

Union Generals:

  • Major General Schofield (1867–1868)
  • Colonel George Stoneman (1868–1869)
  • Brigadier General Edward Canby (1869–1870)

2. The Second Military District: North Carolina and South Carolina. Its headquarters are situated in Charleston, South Carolina.

Union Generals:

  • Major General Daniel Sickles (1865- 1867)
  • Brigadier General Edward Canby (1867-1868)

3. The Third Military District: Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Its headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia.

Union Generals:

  • Commander General John Pope (1867)
  • General George Gordon Meade (1868-1869)
  • General Alfred Terry (1869)

4. The Fourth Military District: Arkansas and Mississippi. Its headquarters are based in Vicksburg.

Union Generals:

  • General Edward Ord
  • General Alvan C. Gillem
  • General Adelbert Ames

5. The Fifth Military District: Louisiana and Texas. General Sheridan governed this district, however, U.S. President Andrew Johnson soon replaced him. That is mainly to accusations that General Sheridan mistreats former Confederate troops too harshly.

Union Generals:

  • Governor General Philip Sheridan (1867)
  • Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock (November 1867-1870)
  • Major General Joseph J. Reynolds (1870)


The establishment of military districts in the South during Reconstruction was a significant step in the process of rebuilding the United States after the Civil War.

From reading the article, you now know what was the point to establishing military districts in the south during reconstruction.

The five military districts were created to ensure that the new laws protecting the rights of newly freed slaves were enforced and that the southern states complied with federal law.

In the end, the military reconstruction plan was a bold and necessary step in pursuing a more just and equitable society, and its legacy continues to be felt today.

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