Headquarters of ProvostóMarshalóGeneral, Defenses South of the Potomac
appointed for every military department, even if no active warfare was in
progress within its limits. They assumed the right to arrest citizens on
suspicion and confine them without trial. Not all the military commanders
viewed the activity of these officers with satisfaction. General S. R.
Curtis stated that the "creation of the so-called provost-marshal invented a
spurious military officer which has embarrassed the service. . . .
Everybody appoints provost-marshals and these officers seem to exercise
plenary powers." General Schofield quoted this statement with approval, and
said that these officers were "entirely independent of all commanders,
except the commander of the department, and hence of necessity pretty much
independent of them." The provost-marshals continued, nevertheless, to
exercise large authority.