Asa Moore, Ellen, and Cosmelia Janney were residents of Lincoln, Virginia. This travel pass shows that the three family members “with carriage” received permission to travel outside their home county of Loudoun, through the nearby Frederick county, a Federal occupied zone that was currently controlled by the Union Army’s 2nd Division, 8th Army Corps.
The Union army’s Provost Marshal was responsible for enforcing military regulations and laws governing both citizens and enlisted men. Among other things, the Provost Marshal oversaw a system of “travel passes” in zones where issues of spying, smuggling, desertion and sabotage were a problem. Citizens moving in and out of Confederate states through Union controlled and occupied zones were required to get permission from the Union army in order to travel outside their home area. The billboard shown below was posted when the Union military was in control of the district which included Loudoun County. The Union provost marshal’s office for the Harpers Ferry district was approximately 20 miles from Lincoln.
Asa Moore’s brother, Samuel M. Janney, traveled throughout the war on Quaker ministry business. He repeatedly left Virginia for “Washington city” as well as northern and/or western states. Because he was a prominent Quaker and known pacifist, as well as a Union sympathizer, Samuel M. Janney received an exceptional travel pass, shown below:
Of course, most citizens in Loudoun County, Virginia were not Quakers, not pacifist, and not Union sympathizers. Often citizen requests for travel were denied. But if the citizen could convince a Provost Marshal that their reason to travel was legitimate and not against the interests of the Federal government, most often the passes were approved. For example, Non-Quaker Silas Himes received a pass from the Harper’s Ferry Provost Marshal office.
It was ironic that so many border state citizens now needed permission to travel or go about their business. Travel passes had been common for generations: enslaved workers needed passes in order to move about on roads and public spaces. The requirement for white Southerners to receive permission to travel was an occasional Civil war inconvenience. However, enslaved men and women’s travel was closely monitored and restricted throughout their lives. Travel for them was often dangerous, subject to slave patrols and acts of random violence, even murder. An ACLU website has a rare travel pass for enslaved man “Barney” along with an explanation of how the pass system for slaves worked.