Summary of Content: Serving as senior aide-de-camp to General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant, Comstock authorizes General Ord to move soldiers from Little Rock to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Referring to reconstruction policies, informs Ord that ”It is impossible for the General-in-Chief to give instructions which shall guide you in all extraordinary and exceptional cases; whenever such cases come within the provisions of the Civil Rights Bill, Freedmans Bureau Bill, or other laws, these laws must be your guide.” Instructs Ord to return property to pre-war ownership, and to suppress all robbers and bushwhackers in his department. States that Ord’s judgment will be supported by Grant as General-in-Chief.
Full Transcript: Gen. E.O.C. Ord Washn Nov 21 1866 , Comdg Dept Ark. , Little Rock , Sir:, General Grant desires me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 16th inst. and to reply as follows., Orders will be issued transferring the Hd Qrs of your Dept. to Fort Smith and authorizing you to move the band now at Little Rock to the post within your command having the largest permanent garrison., It is impossible for the General-in-Chief to give instructions which shall guide you in all extraordinary and exceptional  cases; whenever such cases come within the provisions of the Civil Rights Bill, Freedmans Bureau Bill, or other laws, these laws must be your guide. In other cases you must exercise a wise discretion acting wherever it is possible in concert with the civil authorities., Property belonging to private persons seised as a military necessity while in a state of war and held only because it had been once seised should now that a state of war no longer exists, be restored to its owners. Claims for the rent of such property will undoubtedly be made and perhaps held to be rightful - those claims would in most cases exceed the value to the government of the use of the property.,  It is reported that there are in your Department organized bands of robbers or bushwhackers, persecuting all, alike. You should consult with the state authorities in reference to these, and suppress them at once., In the exercise of the discretionary powers possessed by you will wherever it is possible be supported by the General-in-Chief., Very Respectfully , Yr Obdt Svt, , C.B. Comstock , Bot. Brig. Gen. ADL