According to the Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (my emphasis):

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Have US troops ever been quartered in a private house against the will of the owner during wartime in such a manner as was prescribed by law?

The following do not count:

  • Troops quartered against the will of the owner during peacetime (Constitutional violation)
  • Troops quartered against the will of the owner during wartime in a manner not prescribed by law (Constitutional violation) (e.g. if the manner prescribed that only a Colonel or above could invoke the statute and then, only after a public hearing in the affected community, but in practice Lieutenants were the ones signing the quartering orders and no hearings were actually held)
  • Troops quartered with the consent of the owner, whether in peacetime or wartime.
  • Troops quartered in private US homes by a foreign occupying power.

If no, has a "manner" for doing so ever been prescribed by law (e.g. via a Federal statute), even if no troops were ever actually quartered pursuant to such law?

  • 6
    Seems like a first step would be to ask if any such law was ever passed (and then if so, ever used). Thinking on this, one would think it quite likely this happened during the Civil War at the actual front.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 9, 2017 at 23:07
  • 2
    It definitely happened in the Civil War in confederate states. Numerous examples of US generals making use of civilian homes without the consent of the owner. It may depend on whether you consider homes in rebellious states as "US homes" Jun 10, 2017 at 4:23
  • @T.E.D. in fact, I did ask that question, although the other way around (I first asked if such a law had ever been used, and if not, whether such a law ever even existed). If you think the question would be better written the other way around, please feel free to edit it.
    – Robert Columbia
    Jun 10, 2017 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


Based on the article "The Third Amendment: Forgotten but Not Gone" by Tom W. Bell, I strongly suspect that the answer is "no". According to this article, troops were quartered in private U.S. homes during the War of 1812 and on both sides of the Civil War. In neither case did Congress pass laws to authorize the quartering.

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