38th United States Congress

The Thirty-eighth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1863, to March 4, 1865, during the last two years of the first administration of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Eighth Census of the United States in 1860. The Senate had a Republican majority, and the House of Representatives had a Republican plurality.

38th United States Congress
37th ←
→ 39th
March 4, 1863 – March 4, 1865
Senate PresidentHannibal Hamlin (R)
Senate President pro temSolomon Foot (R)
Daniel Clark (R)
House SpeakerSchuyler Colfax (R)
Members52 senators
184 members of the House
10 non-voting delegates
Senate MajorityRepublican
House MajorityRepublican
Special: March 4, 1863 – March 14, 1863
1st: December 7, 1863 – July 4, 1864
2nd: December 5, 1864 – March 3, 1865

Major events

Major legislation

Constitutional amendments

Treaties ratified

States and Territories

States admitted

States in rebellion

38 us house membership
House seats by party holding plurality in state
  80.1-100% Democratic
  80.1-100% Republican
  60.1-80% Democratic
  60.1-80% Republican
  Up to 60% Democratic
  Up to 60% Republican

The Confederacy fielded armies and sustained the rebellion into a second Congress, but the Union did not accept secession and secessionists were not eligible for Congress. Elections held in Missouri and Kentucky seated all members to the House and Senate for the 38th Congress. Elections held among Unionists in Virginia, Tennessee and Louisiana were marred by disruption resulting in turnouts that were so low compared with 1860, that Congress did not reseat the candidates with a majority of the votes cast.[1]

  • In rebellion 1862–64 according to the Emancipation Proclamation were Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (parts), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia (parts). Tennessee was not held to be in rebellion as of the end of 1862.[2]

Territory organized

Party summary

The count below identifies party affiliations at the beginning of the first session of this Congress, and includes members from vacancies and newly admitted states, when they were first seated. Changes resulting from subsequent replacements are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.


During this Congress, two seats were added for each of the new states of Nevada and West Virginia, thereby adding four new seats.

(shading shows control)
Total Vacant

End of the previous congress 12 30 7 0 49 19
Begin 10 31 4 3 48 20
End 33 3 4 5022
Final voting share 20.0% 66.0% 6.0% 8.0%
Beginning of the next congress 11 37 0 1 49 23

House of Representatives

Before this Congress, the 1860 United States Census and resulting reapportionment changed the size of the House to 241 members. During this Congress, one seat was added for the new state of Nevada, and three seats were reapportioned from Virginia to the new state of West Virginia.

Affiliation Party
(Shading indicates majority/plurality caucus)


Other Vacant
End of previous Congress 45 106 0 30 0 2 183 57
Begin 72 85 2 9 12 0 180 61
End 84 16 183 59
Final voting share 39.3% 47% 4.9% 8.7% 0.0%
Beginning of the next Congress 40 132 1 4 14 0 191 51


Hannibal Hamlin, photo portrait seated, c1860-65-retouched-crop
President of the Senate
Hannibal Hamlin


Majority (Republican) leadership

House of Representatives

Majority (Republican) leadership


This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed by class, and Representatives are listed by district.

Skip to House of Representatives, below


Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six-year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, Class 1 meant their term began in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1868; Class 2 meant their term ended in this Congress, requiring reelection in 1864; and Class 3 meant their term began in the last Congress, requiring reelection in 1866.

Solomon Foot - Brady-Handy
President pro tempore Solomon Foot
Daniel Clark 1809-1891 - Brady-Handy
President pro tempore Daniel Clark

House of Representatives

Schuyler Colfax, photo portrait seated, c1855-1865
Speaker of the House
Schuyler Colfax
Hon. Schuyler Colfax, N.Y. Speaker of House of Reps - NARA - 528686
Group photo of the U.S. House of Representatives, in 1863, during this Congress.

Changes in membership

The count below reflects changes from the beginning of the first session of this Congress.


  • replacements: 2
  • deaths: 1
  • resignations: 2
  • interim appointments: 1
  • seats of newly admitted states: 4
  • Total seats with changes: 4
Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
West Virginia (1) New seat West Virginia admitted to the Union June 19, 1863.
Its first Senators were elected August 4, 1863.
Peter G. Van Winkle (UU) August 4, 1863
West Virginia (2) New seat West Virginia admitted to the Union June 19, 1863.
Its first Senators were elected August 4, 1863.
Waitman T. Willey (UU) August 4, 1863
Missouri (3) Robert Wilson (UU) Successor elected for Sen. Waldo P. Johnson November 13, 1863. B. Gratz Brown (UU) November 13, 1863
Virginia (1) Lemuel J. Bowden (U) Died January 2, 1864. Vacant Not filled this Congress
Delaware (1) James A. Bayard, Jr. (D) Resigned January 29, 1864, for unknown reasons.
Successor elected January 29, 1864.
George R. Riddle (D) February 2, 1864
Maine (2) William P. Fessenden (R) Resigned July 1, 1864, to become U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
Successor appointed October 27, 1864, to finish the term.
Nathan A. Farwell (R) October 27, 1864
Nevada (1) New seat Nevada admitted to the Union October 31, 1864.
Its first Senators were elected February 1, 1865.
William M. Stewart (R) February 1, 1865
Nevada (3) New seat Nevada admitted to the Union October 31, 1864.
Its first Senators were elected February 1, 1865.
James W. Nye (R) February 1, 1865
Maryland (3) Thomas H. Hicks (UU) Died February 14, 1865. Vacant Not filled this Congress.

House of Representatives

  • replacements: 6
  • deaths: 3
  • resignations: 3
  • contested election: 1
  • seats of newly admitted seats: 4
  • Total seats with changes: 7
District Vacator Reason for change Successor Date of successor's
formal installation
Arizona Territory At-large Vacant Territory organized in previous congress.
Seat remained vacant until December 5, 1864.
Charles D. Poston (R) December 5, 1864
Missouri 3rd John W. Noell (UU) Died March 14, 1863. John G. Scott (D) December 7, 1863
Delaware At-large William Temple (D) Died May 28, 1863. Nathaniel B. Smithers (UU) December 7, 1863
New York 14th Erastus Corning (D) Resigned October 5, 1863. John V. L. Pruyn (D) December 7, 1863
West Virginia 1st New State West Virginia admitted to the Union June 19, 1863.
Seat remained vacant until December 7, 1863.
Jacob B. Blair (UU) December 7, 1863
West Virginia 2nd New State West Virginia admitted to the Union June 19, 1863.
Seat remained vacant until December 7, 1863.
William G. Brown, Sr. (UU) December 7, 1863
West Virginia 3rd New State West Virginia admitted to the Union June 19, 1863.
Seat remained vacant until December 7, 1863.
Kellian Whaley (UU) December 7, 1863
Idaho Territory At-large New Territory Territory organized February 1, 1864. William H. Wallace (R) February 1, 1864
Illinois 5th Owen Lovejoy (R) Died March 25, 1864. Ebon C. Ingersoll (R) May 20, 1864
Montana Territory At-large New Territory Territory organized May 26, 1864.
Seat remained vacant until January 6, 1865.
Samuel McLean (D) January 6, 1865
Missouri 1st Francis P. Blair, Jr. (R) Lost contested election June 10, 1864 Samuel Knox (UU) June 10, 1864
Dakota Territory At-large William Jayne Lost contested election June 17, 1864 John B. S. Todd (D) June 17, 1864
New York 1st Henry G. Stebbins (D) Resigned October 24, 1864. Dwight Townsend (D) December 5, 1864
Nevada Territory At-large Gordon N. Mott (R) Nevada achieved statehood October 31, 1864 District eliminated
Nevada At-large New State Nevada admitted to the Union October 31, 1864. Henry G. Worthington (R) October 31, 1864
New York 31st Reuben Fenton (R) Resigned December 20, 1864, after being elected Governor of New York. Vacant Not filled this Congress


Lists of committees and their party leaders, for members (House and Senate) of the committees and their assignments, go into the Official Congressional Directory at the bottom of the article and click on the link (2 links), in the directory after the pages of representatives biographies, you will see the committees of the Senate, House (Standing with Subcommittees, Select and Special) and Joint and after the committee pages, you will see the House/Senate committee assignments in the directory, on the committees section of the House and Senate in the Congressional Directory, the committee's members on the first row on the left side is the chairman and on the right side is the ranking member.


House of Representatives

Joint appointments




House of Representatives

See also


  1. ^ Martis, Kenneth C., "Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress: 1789-1989, 1989 ISBN 0-02-920170-5 p. 116.
  2. ^ Emancipation Proclamation text found at Emancipation Proclamation, "Featured Texts" online at the National Archives and Records Administration. Viewed April 14, 2014.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

External links

1862 United States elections

The 1862 United States elections occurred in the middle of Republican President Abraham Lincoln's first term, during the Third Party System and the Civil War. Members of the 38th United States Congress were chosen in this election. West Virginia and Nevada joined the union during the 38th Congress, but several states were in rebellion, reducing the size of both chambers of Congress. The Republican Party kept control of Congress, although it was reduced to a plurality in the House.

In the House, Democrats won several seats, ending the Republican majority. Republicans won a plurality of seats, while several seats were occupied by politicians identifying as Unionists. Republican Schuyler Colfax won election as Speaker of the House.

In the Senate, Republicans picked up a small number of seats, retaining a commanding majority.

1863 State of the Union Address

The 1863 State of the Union Address was written by the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and delivered to the United States Congress, on Tuesday, December 8, 1863, amid the ongoing American Civil War. He said, "The efforts of disloyal citizens of the United States to involve us in foreign wars to aid an inexcusable insurrection have been unavailing," referring to the citizens of the Confederate States of America, and their failed efforts to bring the Emperor of France, Napoleon III, or the British Monarch, Queen Victoria, onto their side. He ended with, "The movements by State action for emancipation in several of the States not included in the emancipation proclamation are matters of profound gratulation."

1864 State of the Union Address

The 1864 State of the Union Address was given by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. It was presented to the United States Congress on Tuesday, December 6, 1864. It was given right before the end of the American Civil War. He said: "The war continues. Since the last annual message all the important lines and positions then occupied by our forces have been maintained and our arms have steadily advanced, thus liberating the regions left in rear, so that Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of other States have again produced reasonably fair crops. The most remarkable feature in the military operations of the year is General Sherman's attempted march of 300 miles directly through the insurgent region."

Anthony A.C. Rogers

Anthony Astley Cooper Rogers (February 14, 1821 – July 27, 1899) was an American politician. He served in the House of Representative from Arkansas.

Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, Rogers received a limited schooling. He engaged in mercantile pursuits.

He moved to Arkansas in 1854. An opponent of Secession, he was a candidate of supporters of the Union as a delegate to the State convention in 1861. He was arrested for his loyalty, imprisoned, and forced to give bond to answer the charge of "treason against the Confederate Government."

Rogers was elected to the 38th United States Congress, but was not allowed to take his seat, his State not having been readmitted. In 1864, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and engaged in the real estate business. He returned to Arkansas in 1868.

Rogers was elected as a Democrat to the 41st Congress, March 4, 1869, to March 3, 1871. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870 to the 42nd Congress. He was postmaster at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, from January 7, 1881, to July 24, 1885, and again engaged in mercantile pursuits.

In 1888, he moved to Los Angeles, where he died the following year at the age of 78. He is interred in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery.

Charles Upson

Charles Upson (March 19, 1821 – September 5, 1885) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Upson was born in Southington, Connecticut to Lydia (Webster) Upson (1781–1861) and Asahel Upson (1783–1867). He attended the district and select schools of Southington and later taught school in Farmington from 1840 to 1842. He married Sophia Upham on August 4, 1852.

Upson studied law at the Yale Law School in 1844 and moved to Constantine, Michigan the following year. He taught school in 1846 and 1847 and became deputy county clerk of St. Joseph County in 1847. He was admitted to the bar in 1847 and commenced practice in Kalamazoo. He served as county clerk from 1848 to 1849 and prosecuting attorney from 1852 to 1854. He was a member of the Michigan Senate (17th District) from 1855 to 1856. He moved to Coldwater, Michigan in 1856 and continued the practice of law. He was a member of the State board of railroad commissioners in 1857 and served as Michigan Attorney General from 1861 to 1862.

In 1862 was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 2nd congressional district to the 38th United States Congress and was re-elected to the 39th and 40th Congresses, serving from March 4, 1863 to March 3, 1869. He served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Navy (Fortieth Congress). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1868.

In 1869, Upson was appointed judge of the Michigan fifteenth circuit court, serving until his resignation on December 31, 1872. He was a member of the commission to revise the State constitution in 1873. In 1876, he declined appointment as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He served as mayor of the city of Coldwater in 1877. He was again a member of the Michigan Senate (10th District) serving from 1881 to 1882 and resumed the practice of his profession.

Charles Upson died in Coldwater and was interred in Oak Grove Cemetery.

Coinage Act of 1864

The Coinage Act of 1864 was passed on April 22, 1864. The United States federal law changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Director of the United States Mint developed the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary of the Treasury. As a result of this law, the phrase "In God We Trust" first appeared, on the 1864 two-cent coin. An Act of Congress, passed on March 3, 1865, allowed the Mint Director, with the Secretary's approval, to place the phrase on all gold and silver coins that "shall admit the inscription thereon." In 1956, "In God We Trust" replaced "E Pluribus Unum" as the national motto. All currency was printed and minted with the new motto.

Edward Haight (politician)

Edward Haight (March 26, 1817 – September 15, 1885) was an American politician and businessman from New York City. He served in Congress during the American Civil War.

Haight was born on Park Place in New York City. He attended the common schools and was employed in a countinghouse early in life. In 1838, he entered the firm of Cromwell, Haight & Co., dry goods importers on Maiden Lane.

In 1839, Haight married Sarah Louise Burgoyne, of Charleston, South Carolina. He moved to Westchester, New York (now in The Bronx, but then in Westchester County) in 1850. He was a director of the National Bank of New York. He organized the Bank of the Commonwealth of New York City in 1856, and was its president until 1870. After 1870, he was in business with his son Edward Jr. in the brokerage firm of Haight & Company on Wall Street.

Haight was elected as a Democrat to the 37th United States Congress (March 4, 1861 - March 3, 1863). He was a War Democrat and in 1862 was an unsuccessful candidate of the Union Party, as the Republican Party was known that year, for reelection to the 38th United States Congress.

Haight died in Westchester, New York. He is buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in New York City.

Francisco Perea

Francisco Perea (January 9, 1830 – May 21, 1913) was a Hispano businessman and politician, serving first in the House of the New Mexico Territory after the area's acquisition by the United States following the Mexican–American War. He was a cousin of Pedro Perea, and grandson of Governor Francisco Xavier Chávez, the first Governor (1822–1823) of the Departamento de Nuevo México under the independent First Mexican Empire. Perea had a trade network along the Santa Fe Trail between St. Louis and Mexico.

During the American Civil War, Perea was commissioned as a Union Army lieutenant colonel, helping to defend the Territory. He was elected to serve as a delegate for the Territory of New Mexico to the 38th United States Congress from March 4, 1863, to March 3, 1865. After the war he served again in the Territorial legislature, and then as US postmaster of Jemez Springs from 1894 to 1905.

Freedmen's Bureau

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen's Bureau, was an agency of the United States Department of War to "direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children."The Freedmen's Bureau Bill, which established the Freedmen's Bureau on March 3, 1865, was initiated by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and was intended to last for one year after the end of the Civil War. The Freedmen's Bureau was an important agency of early Reconstruction, assisting freedmen in the South. The Bureau was made a part of the United States Department of War, as it was the only agency with an existing organization that could be assigned to the South. Headed by Union Army General Oliver O. Howard, the Bureau started operations in 1865. Throughout the first year, its representatives learned that these tasks would be very difficult, as Southern legislatures passed laws for Black Codes that restricted movement, conditions of labor, and other civil rights of African Americans, nearly duplicating conditions of slavery. The Freedmen's Bureau controlled a limited amount of arable land.The Bureau's powers were expanded to help African Americans find family members from whom they had become separated during the war. It arranged to teach them to read and write, considered critical by the freedmen themselves as well as the government. Bureau agents also served as legal advocates for African Americans in both local and national courts, mostly in cases dealing with family issues. The Bureau encouraged former major planters to rebuild their plantations and urged freed blacks to return to work for them, kept an eye on contracts between the newly free laborers and planters, and pushed whites and blacks to work together in a free labor market as employers and employees rather than as masters and slaves.In 1866, Congress renewed the charter for the Bureau. U.S. President Andrew Johnson, a southern Democrat who had succeeded to the office following Lincoln's assassination, vetoed the bill because he believed that it encroached on states' rights, relied inappropriately on the military in peacetime, and would prevent freed slaves from becoming independent by offering too much assistance. By 1869, the Bureau had lost most of its funding at the hands of southern Democrats and as a result was forced to cut much of its staff. By 1870 the Bureau had been weakened further due to the rise of Ku Klux Klan violence across the South, whose members attacked both blacks and sympathetic white Republicans, including teachers. Northern Democrats were against the program painting it as a program that would make African Americans "lazy".In 1872, Congress abruptly abandoned the program, refusing to approve renewal authorizing legislation. It did not inform Howard, who had been transferred to Arizona by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant to settle hostilities between the Apache and settlers. Grant's Secretary of War William W. Belknap was hostile to Howard's leadership and authority at the Bureau. Belknap aroused controversy among Republicans by his reassignment of Howard.

Homer Augustus Nelson

Homer Augustus Nelson (August 31, 1829 – April 25, 1891) was an American politician and soldier from the state of New York. He was an officer in the Union Army during the first part of the Civil War and a United States congressman during the latter half of the war.

John Ganson

John Ganson (January 1, 1818 – September 28, 1874) was an American lawyer and politician from New York.

List of United States Senators in the 38th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States Senate during the 38th United States Congress listed by seniority, from March 4, 1863, to March 3, 1865.

Order of service is based on the commencement of the senator's first term. Behind this is former service as a senator (only giving the senator seniority within his or her new incoming class), service as vice president, a House member, a cabinet secretary, or a governor of a state. The final factor is the population of the senator's state.Senators who were sworn in during the middle of the Congress (up until the last senator who was not sworn in early after winning the November 1864 election) are listed at the end of the list with no number.

List of United States federal legislation, 1789–1901

This is a chronological, but incomplete, list of United States federal legislation passed by the 1st through 56th United States Congresses, between 1789 and 1901. For the main article on this subject, see List of United States federal legislation. Additional lists can be found at List of United States federal legislation: Congress of the Confederation, List of United States federal legislation, 1901–2001 and List of United States federal legislation, 2001–present.

List of members of the United States House of Representatives in the 38th Congress by seniority

This is a complete list of members of the United States House of Representatives during the 38th United States Congress listed by seniority.

As an historical article, the districts and party affiliations listed reflect those during the 38th Congress (March 4, 1863 – March 3, 1865). Current seats and party affiliations on the List of current members of the United States House of Representatives by seniority will be different for certain members.Seniority depends on the date on which members were sworn into office. Since many members are sworn in on the same day, subsequent ranking is based on previous congressional service of the individual and then by alphabetical order by the last name of the congressman.

Committee chairmanship in the House is often associated with seniority. However, party leadership is typically not associated with seniority.

Note: The "*" indicates that the representative/delegate may have served one or more non-consecutive terms while in the House of Representatives of the United States Congress.

Samuel F. Miller (U.S. politician)

Samuel Franklin Miller (27 May 1827 – 16 March 1892) was a United States Representative from New York during the latter half of the American Civil War.

Miller was born in Franklin, Delaware County, New York on 27 May 1827. He graduated from the Delaware Literary Institute and Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., in 1852; studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1853, but did not engage in extensive practice; engaged in farming and lumbering; member of the New York State Assembly (Delaware Co, 1st D.) in 1854; served as a colonel in the State militia; elected as a Republican to the 38th United States Congress (4 March 1863 – 3 March 1865); member of the State constitutional convention in 1867; district collector of internal revenue in 1869–1873; member of the State board of charities in 1869–1877; elected to the 44th United States Congress (4 March 1875 – 3 March 1877); continued agricultural pursuits and lumbering; died in Franklin, N.Y., on 16 March 1892; interment in Ouleout Valley Cemetery.

Unconditional Union Party

The Unconditional Union Party was a loosely organized political entity during the American Civil War and the early days of Reconstruction. First established in 1861 in Missouri, where secession talk was strong, the party fully supported the preservation of the Union at all costs. Members included Southern Democrats who were loyal to the Union, as well as elements of the old Whig Party and other factions opposed to a separate Southern Confederacy. The party was dissolved in 1866.

Unionist Party (United States)

The Unionist Party, later re-named Unconditional Unionist Party, was a political party in the United States started after the Compromise of 1850 to define politicians who supported the Compromise. Members included Southern Democrats who were loyal to the Union as well as elements of the old Whig Party and other factions opposed to a separate Southern Confederacy.

It was used primarily as a label by Southerners who did not want to affiliate with the Republicans, or wished to win over anti-secession Democrats.

United States Senate Committee on the Pacific Railroad

The Senate Committee on the Pacific Railroad is a defunct committee of the United States Senate. It was first established as a select committee on July 7, 1861, to examine legislation to authorize construction of a transcontinental railroad.

This legislation formed the basis of the Pacific Railway Acts enacted in 1862, which granted a charter to the Union Pacific Railroad Company to construct the first transcontinental railroad in the United States and to provide federal support in the form of land grants and bond subsidies. The committee was made a standing committee on December 22, 1863 during the 38th United States Congress to oversee matters related to construction of the railroad. After construction was completed in 1869, the committee decreased in relevance and in 1873 when it was replaced by the Committee on Railroads.

Wade–Davis Bill

The Wade–Davis Bill of 1864 was a bill proposed for the Reconstruction of the South written by two Radical Republicans, Senator Benjamin Wade of Ohio and Representative Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. In opposition to President Abraham Lincoln's more lenient Ten Percent Plan, the bill made re-admittance to the Union for former Confederate states contingent on a majority in each ex-Confederate state to take the Ironclad Oath to the effect they had never in the past supported the Confederacy. The bill passed both houses of Congress on July 2, 1864, but was pocket vetoed by Lincoln and never took effect. The Radical Republicans were outraged that Lincoln did not sign the bill. Lincoln wanted to mend the Union by carrying out the Ten percent plan. He believed it would be too difficult to repair all of the ties within the Union if the Wade–Davis bill passed.

United States Congresses (and year convened)

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