Joseph R. Anderson Amnesty File, M1003, National Archives
To His Excellency Andrew Johnson, President of the United States.
The petition of Joseph R. Anderson, a citizen of Richmond in the State of Virginia, respectfully represents, that during the late insurrection against the authority of the United States, which has proved so disastrous to the people of the Southern portion of the Union, he was called into military service by the insurgent authorities, and acted as a Brigadier General in that service from September or October 1861 until July 1862 when he resigned his commission and retired from the service; since which he has held no office or agency whatever, whether civil, political or military, under the insurgent confederacy. His resignation took place, as nearly as he can remember, on or about the 10th of July 1862.
He had no agency of any kind in bringing about the hostilities with the United States, or the secession of the state of Virginia; and when the government of the United States, upon the evacuation of Richmond by the Confederate government and troops, resumed its lawful authority over the city and its inhabitants, he promptly availed himself of the opportunity (the earliest that had presented itself) of renewing his allegiance to the government of the United States, by taking the oath prescribed in the proclamation of President Lincoln. That oath was taken by him cheerfully and in good health, has been honestly and strictly observed thus far, and will be in like manner observed in the time to come.
At the time of taking the oath of allegiance as aforesaid, he tendered to the military authorities of the United States in Richmond his services, to do whatever, as a private citizen, he could honorably perform towards the full reestablishment of the State of Virginia as a member of the Federal Union. For confirmation of this fact he respectfully refers to Mr. Dance, the Assistant Secretary of War, and to General Weitzel, at that time the military commandant of Richmond. With the view of aiding him in the accomplishment of the proposed object, General Weitzel furnished him with a passport authorizing him to travel into any part of the State of Virginia. [page break]
From a period many years antecedent to the breaking out of hostilities, your petitioner has been engaged in the business of manufacturing iron, in partnership with three other citizens of Virginia, namely, John F. Tanner, Robert Archer, and R. S. Archer. No one of those three has ever served in the Confederate Army, or held any sort of office or agency under the Confederate government; and all of them have taken the oath of allegiance prescribed by President Lincoln’s proclamation. The manufacturing establishment, of which your petitioner an the parties above named are joint proprietors, is located in the city of Richmond, and is known as the Tredegar Iron Works. The articles manufactured have been at all times chiefly such as were required for the use of railroads and for farming purposes; but during the existence of the recent hostilities against the United States, the establishment, to the extent of perhaps one third of its capacity, has been employed in executing the orders of the insurgent government for ordnance and other implements of warfare. Respecting that employment your petitioner has only to say, that by no other means than by consenting to execute such orders of the Confederate authorities, could your petitioner and his partners have retained the possession and control of the property in question; for any refusal of them to comply with such orders would have undoubtedly have led the Confederate authorities to take the establishment at once into their own hands, and work it exclusively for their own purposes.
Upon the occupation of Richmond by the forces of the United States, the military authorities of the Union took possession of the property in question, and that possession is still retained by them. Your petitioner and his partners are thus deprived of the means of pursuing that business upon which they depended for the support of themselves and their families. And not only so, but the numerous workmen, amounting to many hundred, whom they employed in conducting the diversified operations of the establishment, have been likewise induced to great distress by the suspension of those operations, and many of them, with their families, are, and for more than two months past have been, absolutely dependent upon the charity of the Federal government for the means of subsistence. A speedy resumption of those operations is moreover of high and [page break] general importance to almost the whole state of Virginia: iron and machinery for railroads, and implements of every kind for farming purposes, are pressingly needed in all directions: and the supplies of such articles for the whole state have at all times been in large measure derived from the Tredegar iron works.
Your petitioner knows the perfect good faith and sincerity with which he has returned to his allegiance to the Union; and under the circumstances which he has above frankly and honestly laid before you, he feels himself not only authorized, but invited, by the terms of your Excellency’s proclamation, to apply to you, as he now most respectfully and earnestly does apply, for your Excellency’s special grant of Amnesty and pardon for the past, whereby your petitioner may be exempted from the penalties which the letter of the law may attach to any of his past acts or omissions, and be reinstated in the rights of property and citizenship which those acts or omissions may have forfeited. He feels absolutely certain that those rights, if restored to him, will never under any circumstances by abused, and that your Excellency will never have reason to regret the exercise of your high prerogative in his favor.
In conclusion he states, that besides the oath under the proclamation of President Lincoln, he has also taken that prescribed in the proclamation of your Excellency.
With high respect,
Your Excellency’s obedient servant,
Joseph. R. Anderson