General Orders, No. 38 (Department of the Ohio) (April 13, 1863)

Updated: January 31, 2017

Major-General Ambrose Burnside issued General Orders, No. 38 on April 13, 1863 in an effort to silence opponents of the Civil War in the Department of the Ohio.

General Orders, No. 38

Headquarters Department of the Ohio
Cincinnati, O, April 13, 1863


The commanding general publishes, for the information of all concerned, that hereafter all persons found within our lines who commit acts for the benefit of the enemies of our country, will be tried as spies, or traitors, and if convicted, will suffer death. This order includes the following class of persons:

Carriers of secret mails.

Writers of letters sent by secret mails.

Secret recruiting-officers within the lines.

Persons who have entered into an agreement to pass our lines for the purpose of joining the enemy.

Persons found within our lines belonging to the service of the enemy, and, in fact, all persons found improperly within our lines who give private information to the enemy.

All persons within our lines who harbor, protect, conceal, feed, clothe, or in any way aid the enemies of our country.

The habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy will no longer be tolerated in this department. Persons committing such offences will be at once arrested, with a view to being tried as above stated, or sent beyond our lines into the lines of their friends.

It must be distinctly understood that treason, expressed or implied, will not be tolerated in this department.

All officers and soldiers are strictly charged with the execution of this order.

By command of Maj.-Gen. A.E. BURNSIDE.

Lewis Richmond, Assistant Adjutant-General

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"General Orders, No. 38 (Department of the Ohio)," Ohio Civil War Central, 2022, Ohio Civil War Central. 2 Oct 2022 <>

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"General Orders, No. 38 (Department of the Ohio)." (2022) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 2, 2022, from Ohio Civil War Central:

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