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38th Congress (1863–1865)

Congressional Profile

Total Membership:

  • 184 Representatives
  • 10 Delegates

Party Divisions:*

  • 72 Democrats
  • 85 Republicans
  • 16 Unconditional Unionists
  • 9 Unionists
  • 2 Independent Republicans

*Party division totals are based on election day results.

Schuyler Colfax/tiles/non-collection/s/speaker_colfax_2005_016_025.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
Indiana Representative Schuyler Colfax served three terms as Speaker before becoming Vice President.

Congress Overview

Following the 1862 wartime elections, the Republican majority in the House narrowed while it grew in the Senate. To pay for the Union war effort, legislation creating America’s first progressive income tax took effect and the 38th Congress (1863–1865) sent a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery to the states for review. Anticipating its ratification, Congress created the Freedmen’s Bureau to assist former slaves making the transition into full citizenship. Republican majorities authorized the transcontinental railroad, and welcomed West Virginia and Nevada into the Union. President Abraham Lincoln’s 1864 pocket veto of the Wade-Davis Bill stifled other congressional reconstruction plans.

Member Information

  • Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress, (1774–2005), Official Annotated Membership Roster by State with Vacancy and Special Election Information for the 38th Congress [PDF]
  • Learn more about the House of Representatives with an interactive map

Learn more about the People of the People's House

Leadership & Officers

Speaker of the House:
Schuyler Colfax (R–Indiana)
Clerk of the House:
Edward McPherson
Sergeant at Arms:
Edward Ball
Chaplain of the House:
Thomas H. Stockton – Methodist 1
William Henry Channing – Unitarian
Ira Goodnow
William S. King
Messenger to the Speaker:
Thaddeus Morrice 2
William D. Todd
Democratic Caucus Chairman:
Republican Conference Chairman:
Justin S. Morrill (R–Vermont) 3

To view complete lists of individuals who have served in these leadership and official positions since the 1st Congress, visit the People section


1From 1855 to 1861 the local clergy in the District of Columbia conducted the opening prayer. Thereafter, the House has elected a Chaplain at the beginning of each Congress.

2Died 1864.

3Representative Morrill is the first officially designated Republican Conference chairman. There exists no clear evidence of formal chairmanships of Republican organizations in earlier Congresses.