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The Nation in crisis, 1861-1877

Author:
Donald, David  Search this
Physical description:
xv, 92 p. 24 cm
Type:
Bibliography
Place:
United States
Date:
1969
[1969]
Civil War, 1861-1865
Topic:
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
Z1242 .D67 1969
Z1242.D67 1969
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_2421

We will be satisfied with nothing less the African American struggle for equal rights in the North during Reconstruction Hugh Davis

Author:
Davis, Hugh 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
xvii, 209 pages 24 cm
Type:
Books
History
Place:
United States
Date:
2011
1863-1877
19th century
19e siècle
Topic:
African Americans--History  Search this
African Americans--Civil rights--History  Search this
Equality before the law--History  Search this
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
Noirs américains--Histoire  Search this
Noirs américains--Droits--Histoire  Search this
African Americans  Search this
African Americans--Civil rights  Search this
Equality before the law  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1153414

The lost lectures of C [electronic resource] . Vann Woodward / Natalie J. Ring, Sarah E. Gardner, and C. Vann Woodward ; foreword by Edward L. Ayers

Author:
Woodward, C. Vann (Comer Vann) 1908-1999  Search this
Editor:
Ring, Natalie J..  Search this
Gardner, Sarah E.  Search this
Physical description:
1 online resource
Type:
Electronic resource Vann Woodwards
History
Place:
Southern States
United States
Date:
2020
Topic:
Dissenters--History  Search this
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
Dissenters  Search this
History  Search this
Call number:
F216
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1151344

The slaveholding republic : an account of the United States government's relations to slavery / Don E. Fehrenbacher ; completed and edited by Ward M. McAfee

Author:
Fehrenbacher, Don E (Don Edward) 1920-1997  Search this
McAfee, Ward  Search this
Physical description:
1 online resource (xiii, 466 pages)
Type:
Electronic resources
Electronic books
History
Place:
United States
Date:
2001
18th century
19th century
1775-1783
1783-1865
1865-1877
Topic:
Slavery--Political aspects--History  Search this
Slavery--Government policy--History  Search this
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
Constitutional history  Search this
African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc--History  Search this
SOCIAL SCIENCE--Slavery  Search this
African Americans--Legal status, laws, etc  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
Slavery--Government policy  Search this
Slavery--Political aspects  Search this
Call number:
E446 .F45 2001 (Internet)
Restrictions & Rights:
Use copy Restrictions unspecified
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1149730

Fighting chance : the struggle over woman suffrage and Black suffrage in Reconstruction America / Faye E. Dudden

Author:
Dudden, Faye E  Search this
Physical description:
1 online resource (viii, 287 pages) : illustrations
Type:
Electronic resources
Electronic books
History
Place:
United States
Date:
2011
©2011
19th century
Topic:
Women--Suffrage--History  Search this
African Americans--Suffrage--History  Search this
Women's rights--History  Search this
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
POLITICAL SCIENCE--Political Process--Elections  Search this
African Americans--Suffrage  Search this
Women--Suffrage  Search this
Women's rights  Search this
Call number:
JK1896 .D79 2011 (Internet)
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1149988

Gold and freedom the political economy of Reconstruction Nicolas Barreyre ; translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Author:
Barreyre, Nicolas 1975-  Search this
Physical description:
1 online resource
Type:
Electronic resources
Electronic books
History
Place:
United States
Southern States
USA
Date:
2015
1865-1877
19th century
Civil War, 1861-1865
Topic:
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)  Search this
Spatial analysis (Statistics)  Search this
HISTORY--State & Local--General  Search this
Economic policy  Search this
Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.)  Search this
Politics and government  Search this
Reconstruction  Search this
Bürgerkrieg  Search this
Politische Ökonomie  Search this
Öffentliche Schulden  Search this
History  Search this
Geography  Search this
Political aspects  Search this
Influence  Search this
Südstaaten  Search this
Call number:
E668 .B25513 2015 (Internet)
Restrictions & Rights:
1-user
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1147766

The second founding how the Civil War and Reconstruction remade the Constitution Eric Foner

Title:
How the Civil War and Reconstruction remade the Constitution
Author:
Foner, Eric 1943-  Search this
Subject:
United States Constitution 13th-15th Amendments  Search this
United States Constitution 13th-15th Amendments  Search this
Physical description:
xxix, 224 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates illustrations 25 cm
Type:
Books
History
Place:
United States
Date:
2019
19th century
Civil War, 1861-1865
1861-1865, Civil War
Topic:
Constitutional history  Search this
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Influence  Search this
Legislation  Search this
POLITICAL SCIENCE--Constitutions  Search this
HISTORY--Civil War Period (1850-1877)  Search this
POLITICAL SCIENCE--American Government--Legislative Branch  Search this
Reconstruction (1865-1876)  Search this
History  Search this
Law and legislation  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1148007

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Alabama, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872

Extent:
34 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1872
Summary:
This collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 34 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M1900. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the Alabama Office of the Assistant Commissioner, his staff offices, and subordinate field offices of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872. These records consist of bound volumes and unbound records, containing materials that include letters and endorsements sent and received, monthly reports, applications of freedmen for rations, and other records relating to freedmen's claims and homesteads.
Records Description:
The volumes reproduced in this microfilm publication were originally arranged by type of record and thereunder by volume number. No numbers were assigned to series consisting of single volumes. Years later, all volumes were arbitrarily assigned numbers by the Adjutant General's Office (AGO) of the War Department after the records came into its custody. In this microfilm publication, AGO numbers are shown in parentheses to aid in identifying the volumes. The National Archives assigned the volume numbers that are not in parentheses. In some volumes, particularly in indexes and alphabetical headings of registers, there are a number of blank numbered pages that have not been filmed.

The volumes consist of letters and endorsements sent and received, press copies of letters sent, registers of letters received, fair copies of letters received, letters and orders received, registers of freedmen issued rations, special orders and circulars issued, registers of bounty claimants, reports, registers of contracts, registers of complaints, registers of patients, registers of disbursements, account books, miscellaneous records, and monthly reports forwarded to the Assistant Commissioner. The unbound documents consist of letters sent and received and endorsements sent, reports, applications for relief, labor contracts, rosters of officers and employees, court records, special and general orders and circulars received, and miscellaneous records. The unbound records also contain monthly reports; oaths of office; applications of freedmen for rations; and records relating to claims, court trials, property restoration, and homesteads.

From June 1866 to January 1868, Assistant Commissioner Swayne also served as the military commander of Alabama. He therefore created and received records in both capacities. The dual function of the Assistant Commissioner resulted in a succession of changes in the official headings used on correspondence and issuances. The title "Office of the Assistant Commissioner" was changed in June 1866 to "Headquarters, District of Alabama," and in August 1866 to "Headquarters, Subdistrict of Alabama." The heading "District of Alabama" was used again from March 1867 until superseded by "State of Alabama" in February 1868. The dual function of the office is also reflected in the recordkeeping practices for that period. Although the Assistant Commissioner generally maintained separate records for each of his capacities, in the case of letters and endorsements sent the records were frequently combined. Wherever they were separable, the records created by the Assistant Commissioner in his military capacity were placed with the Records of United States Army Continental Commands, 1821–1920, RG 393.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M1900.]

HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). The life of the Bureau was extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner of the Bureau, and Howard served in that position until June 30, 1872, when activities of the Bureau were terminated in accordance with an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366). While a major part of the Bureau's early activities involved the supervision of abandoned and confiscated property, its mission was to provide relief and help freedmen become self–sufficient. Bureau officials issued rations and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, and supervised labor contracts. In addition, the Bureau managed apprenticeship disputes and complaints, assisted benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. The Bureau also helped black soldiers, sailors, and their heirs collect bounty claims, pensions, and back pay.

The act of March 3, 1865, authorized the appointment of Assistant Commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the former Confederate states, the border states, and the District of Columbia. In Alabama, operations began in July 1865 when Brig. Gen. Wager Swayne took command as Assistant Commissioner. Bvt. Brig. Julius Hayden succeeded Swayne and served from January to March 1868. Col. Oliver L. Shepherd served from March to August 1868, and Col. T. H. Ruger held the position of Assistant Commissioner for only a few days in August before the arrival of Bvt. Lt. Col. Edwin Beecher later in that month. In January 1869, in accordance with an act of July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), Bureau operations in Alabama were terminated except for the educational functions and the collection of claims. Colonel Beecher remained in Alabama as superintendent of education and held that position until the office was closed in July 1870. The majority of Bureau officers and agents in Alabama were active duty military officers, and for the first two years of the Bureau's existence in Alabama, the agency doubled as the military command for the district. Brig. Gen. Swayne, for example, served as Assistant Commissioner and District Military Commander for Alabama from 1866 to 1868. As a consequence of the wide use of military officers to staff the Bureau, the agency constantly struggled with issues of continuity as well as a lack of personnel to staff the various field offices. At one point at the end of 1866, the Bureau could only staff eight stations in Alabama due to a critical shortage of qualified personnel.

While the work performed by Assistant Commissioners in each state was similar, the organizational structure of staff officers varied from state to state. At various times, the staff could consist of a superintendent of education, an assistant adjutant general, an assistant inspector general, a disbursing officer, a chief medical officer, a chief quartermaster, and a commissary of subsistence. Subordinate to these officers were the assistant superintendents, or subassistant commissioners as they later became known, who commanded the subdistricts. The major subordinate field offices for the Bureau at Alabama included headquarters at Demopolis, Eufaula, Garland, Greenville, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, Opelika, Selma, Talladega, Tuscaloosa, and Tuskegee. Under the direct supervision of the subassistant commissioners were the civilian and military agents. Occasionally, the Bureau retained military officers in a civilian capacity after the termination of their military service. For a list of known Alabama subordinate field office personnel and their dates of service, see the Appendix.

The Assistant Commissioner corresponded extensively with both his superior in the Washington Bureau headquarters and his subordinate officers in the subdistricts. Based upon reports submitted to him by the subassistant commissioners and other subordinate staff officers, he prepared reports that he sent to the Commissioner concerning Bureau activities in areas under his jurisdiction. The Assistant Commissioner also received letters from freedmen, local white citizens, state officials, and other non–Bureau personnel. These letters varied in nature from complaints to applications for jobs in the Bureau. Because the assistant adjutant general handled much of the mail for the Assistant Commissioner's office, it was often addressed to him instead of to the Assistant Commissioner.

In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard in July 1865, the Assistant Commissioners were instructed to designate one officer in each state to serve as "General Superintendents of Schools." These officials were to "take cognizance of all that is being done to educate refugees and freedmen, secure proper protection to schools and teachers, promote method and efficiency, correspond with the benevolent agencies which are supplying his field, and aid the Assistant Commissioner in making his required reports." In October 1865, a degree of centralized control was established over Bureau educational activities in the states when Rev. John W. Alvord was appointed Inspector of Finances and Schools. In January 1867, Alvord was divested of his financial responsibilities, and he was appointed General Superintendent of Education.

An act of Congress, approved July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), ordered that the Commissioner of the Bureau "shall, on the first day of January next, cause the said bureau to be withdrawn from the several States within which said bureau has acted and its operation shall be discontinued." Consequently, in early 1869, with the exception of the superintendents of education and the claims agents, the Assistant Commissioners and their subordinate officers were withdrawn from the states.

For the next year and a half, the Bureau continued to pursue its education work and to process claims. In the summer of 1870, the superintendents of education were withdrawn from the states, and the headquarters staff was greatly reduced. From that time until the Bureau was abolished by an act of Congress approved June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366), effective June 30, 1872, the Bureau's functions related almost exclusively to the disposition of claims. The Bureau's records and remaining functions were then transferred to the Freedmen's Branch in the office of the Adjutant General. The records of this branch are among the Bureau's files.

Constrained by limited resources, Southern opposition, and the politics of Reconstruction, the Bureau faced an enormous challenge in its efforts to assist the freedmen and refugees. Its relief efforts, without question, saved thousands of southerners from starvation. Its attempts to assist freedmen to become self–sufficient, to provide public education, administer justice, and, to a lesser degree, to provide land, all worked with varying degrees of success to lessen the difficulties during the transition from slavery to freedom. One of the Bureau's greatest legacies is the body of records it created and received during the course of its operations. These records are arguably some of the most important documents available for the study of the Federal Government's policies, efforts to reconstruct the South, and Southern social history and genealogy.

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU IN ALABAMA

The Freedmen's Bureau's major activities in Alabama generally resembled those conducted in other states. The Bureau issued rations to both freedmen and white refugees, supervised labor contracts between planters and freedmen, administered justice, worked with benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, and assisted freedmen in locating land.

Shortly after accepting the position of Assistant Commissioner in Alabama, Brig. Gen. Swayne requested permission from the Freedmen's Bureau headquarters in Washington, DC, to set aside 1,225 acres of land on the Broward Plantation near Montgomery for freedmen. The plantation had been abandoned shortly before the end of the war and was confiscated by Federal authorities. Montgomery Home Colony, established on some of this land, became the largest of several "home colonies" set aside to provide services for the freedmen. Home colonies were also established at Talladega, Mobile, Garland, Butler County, Montgomery, Selma, Demopolis, and Huntsville. The colonies were not self–sufficient communities of freedmen like those found in South Carolina or Louisiana. Instead, the colonies were distribution centers where the Bureau disseminated rations, clothes, seeds, and tools; processed claims; provided medical care; and organized services for the infirm, orphans, and the elderly. The central functions of these colonies were organized around a freedmen's hospital. The freedmen's hospital at Montgomery offered services to all races. From November 1866 to August 1867, it treated 168 refugees (whites), five of whom died. During the same period, the hospital treated 6,058 freedmen, of whom 162 died.

From 1865 to 1867, Alabama suffered repeated and massive crop failures due to drought or frost conditions. During the same period, the state was swept by a series of epidemics, with smallpox proving the most deadly disease affecting the freedmen. In addition to medical care, one of the most important duties for the Bureau in Alabama was the issuance of rations to refugees and freedmen to stave off malnutrition and starvation.

The Alabama Bureau also expended great resources and energy mitigating contract disputes between freedmen and white landowners as well as attempting to overturn draconian "black codes" enacted by the Alabama State Legislature and signed by the Governor. In his 1866 annual report to the Washington, DC, headquarters of the Bureau, Swayne complained that white landowners rampantly defrauded freedmen of benefits spelled out in their labor contracts.1 However, Swayne complained most extensively in this report about a particular set of "black codes" passed by the Legislature late in 1865 as vagrancy laws. These codes were passed shortly before Christmas after widespread complaints by white landowners that freedmen refused to work during the Christmas week. Apparently, freedmen expected to continue the tradition of time off from work at Christmas dating back to the antebellum years. Brig. Gen. Swayne charged that these laws returned freedmen to a state of slavery. First, he pointed to the authorized use of chain gangs in which freedmen worked with no compensation for even the most minor offenses. Second, the newly established probate courts often worked against freedmen. They were responsible for settling contract disputes between freedmen and white landowners. However, one component of the law passed by the Legislature stipulated that freedmen were not allowed to testify against whites or serve on juries. In cases where the courts found in favor of the white landowners, the presiding judge had the option of forcing freedmen into uncompensated labor for the white landowners or impressing freedmen's children as free laborers for the litigant. The black codes also authorized county officials to impress orphaned children as laborers on local plantations. Swayne was able to convince the Alabama Legislature to eventually overturn most of these codes. In districts where he could not force the probate courts to fairly enforce the law, he set up special freedmen's courts to hear complaints.

However, Swayne was unable to convince the Legislature to overturn provisions of the vagrancy laws that allowed widespread arrests of freedmen. The code authorized local and state law enforcement officials to summarily arrest those freedmen without contract papers who were allegedly causing "disturbances" in public places and roads. The normal punishment under this penal code was forced labor on nearby plantations. Finally, in March 1867, the Bureau saw this law overturned through the Military Reconstruction Bill for the District of Alabama (14 Stat. 429).

The Freedmen's Bureau in Alabama had a major impact in providing education for freedmen from 1866 to 1869. Due to its limited budget and resources, the Bureau was unable to directly establish and operate the great number of freedmen schools needed. However, the successive Assistant Commissioners proved very adept at finding other means for establishing these schools. They successfully implemented a three–way partnership program in which a wide variety of Northern relief societies flooded the state with resources to build schools, money for books and teachers, or volunteer members who instructed the freedmen for no fee. The freedmen were often responsible for actual maintenance of facilities as well as contributions of money and resources for upkeep of the local schools. Bureau agents oversaw the education program and provided land and protection for the schools. The results of this program were impressive. At the beginning of the school year in October 1866, there were 3,100 freedmen in classes taught by 68 teachers. By June 1867, these figures had grown to just under 10,000 students instructed by 150 teachers.

ENDNOTES

1 Annual Report of the Assistant Commissioner, Montgomery, AL, October 31, 1866, Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Alabama, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M809, Roll 2), Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group (RG) 105, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
Freedmen's Bureau Personnel in Alabama:
This list provides the names and dates of service of known Freedmen's Bureau personnel at selected subordinate field offices in Alabama. Additional information regarding persons assigned to various field offices might be found among the Bureau's Washington headquarters station books and rosters of military officers and civilians on duty in the states and other appointment–related records.

DEMOPOLIS

Aug.–Dec. 1865 -- Subassistant Commissioner Capt. A. C. Haltonstall

Jan. 1866–Feb. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Bvt Maj. C. W. Pierce

Feb.–May 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Lt. A. J. Bennett

June 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner C. L. Drake

July–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner R. A. Wilson

GREENVILLE

Sept.–Nov. 1865 -- Subassistant Commissioner A. L. Brown

Nov. 1865–ca. June 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner T. W. Mostyn

ca. June 1866–Feb. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. F. McGogy

Feb.–June 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner Samuel Gardner

June–Sept. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner William H. Peck

Sept.–Nov. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner Samuel Gardner

Nov.–Dec. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. A. Hart

Dec. 1867–July 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Samuel Gardner

Aug.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. F. McGogy

HUNTSVILLE

Sept. 1865–Jan. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner T. M. Goodfellow

Jan. 1866–Jan. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. B. Callis

Jan.–Feb. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Robert Harrison

Mar.–Nov. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner D. C. Rugg

HUNTSVILLE AND ATHENS

Apr.–Sept. 1868 -- Claims Agent J. W. Wilis

Sept. 1868–Jan. 1872 -- Claims Agent John Wager

JACKSONVILLE

May–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner and Agent Robert Harrison

Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner and Agent William McKibbin (Agent)

MOBILE

Apr.–Aug. 1865 -- Subassistant Commissioner George Harmount

Oct. 1865–Apr. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner George Robinson

Apr.–May 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner G. A. Washbum

May–Aug. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner L. J. Whiting

Sept.–Oct. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner Joseph Logan

Nov. 1866–Sept. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner George Tracy

Sept. 1867–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner James Gillette

Aug.–Sept. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner John Hyde

Sept.–Nov. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner E. H. Weirman

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Frank Towle

MONTGOMERY

Oct. 1865–Dec. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner George A. Harmount

Dec. 1866–Aug. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner L. J. Whiting

Aug. 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. C. Hendrix

OPELIKA

June 1867–June 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner R. T. Smith

July–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner John Bannister

Aug.–Sept. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner D. B. Smith

Sept.–Oct. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner G. W. Kingsbury

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner D. B. Smith

SELMA

Mar.–June 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner Samuel S. Gardner

June–July 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner F. D. Ogilby

July–Aug. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner Samuel S. Gardner

Aug. 1866–Jan. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner George Shorkley

Jan.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Charles C. Bartlett

TALLADEGA

Oct.–Nov. 1865 -- Subassistant Commissioner D. P. Cilley

Dec. 1865–Apr. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner T. Humphrey

Apr. 1866–Feb. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner R. Tlieune

Feb. 1867–June 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner J. F. McGogy

June–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner George P. Sherwood

TUSCALOOSA

Jan.–Apr. 1866 -- Subassistant Commissioner Jesse W. Cogswell

Apr. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner W. H. Peck

Apr. 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Robert Blair

TUSCUMBIA

May–June 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner Henry Sweeney

June–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner W. H. Heilman

Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner John Raines

TUSKEGEE

Sept.–Nov. 1865 -- Assistant Superintendent Andrew Geddes

Nov. 1865–Apr. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent Spencer Smith
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
American South  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M1900
See more items in:
Records of the Field Offices for the State of Alabama, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3e518fa96-d656-47ba-801f-70d6960b66cd
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m1900
Online Media:

Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection

Creator:
United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands  Search this
Extent:
1,917,680 Digital images (1918 digitized microfilm rolls)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Digital images
Date:
1865-1872
Summary:
The Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 1918 rolls of microfilm held by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Arrangement:
The Freedmen's Bureau digital collection consists of 44 collections.

Headquarters

Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 -- (M742, 7 rolls)

Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1872 -- (M752, 74 rolls) Transcription in process

Records of the Education Division of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1871 -- (M803, 35 rolls)

Superintendents of Education

Alabama -- (M810, 8 rolls)

Arkansas -- (M980, 5 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

District of Columbia -- (M1056, 24 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Georgia -- (M799, 28 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Louisiana -- (M1026, 12 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

North Carolina -- (M844, 16 rolls)

Tennessee -- (M1000, 9 rolls)

Texas -- (M822, 18 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Virginia -- (1053, 20 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Assistant Commissioners

Alabama -- (M809, 23 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Arkansas -- (M979, 52 rolls)

District of Columbia -- (M1055, 21 rolls)

Georgia -- (M798, 36 rolls)

Louisiana -- (M1027, 36 rolls)

Louisiana - New Orleans Asst. Commissioner -- (M1483, 10 rolls)

Mississippi -- (M826, 50 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

North Carolina -- (M843, 38 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

South Carolina -- (M869, 44 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Tennessee -- (M999, 34 rolls) Transcription in process.

Texas -- (M821, 32 rolls)

Virginia -- (M1048, 67 rolls)

Field Offices

Alabama -- (M1900, 34 rolls)

Arkansas -- (M1901, 23 rolls)

District of Columbia -- (M1902, 21 rolls) PARTIALLY TRANSCRIBED

Florida -- (M1869, 15 rolls)

Georgia -- (M1903, 90 rolls)

Kentucky -- (M1904, 133 rolls)

Louisiana -- (M1905, 111 rolls)

Maryland/Delaware -- (M1906, 42 rolls)

Mississippi - Pre-Bureau Records -- (M1914, 5 rolls)

Mississippi -- (M1907, 65 rolls)

Missouri -- (M1908, 24 rolls)

North Carolina -- (M1909, 78 rolls) Transcription in process.

South Carolina -- (M1910, 106 rolls)

Tennessee -- (M1911, 89 rolls)

Texas -- (M1912, 28 rolls)

Virginia -- (M1913, 203 rolls)

Marriage

Marriage -- (M1875, 5 rolls)

Adjutant General's Office

Office of the Adjutant General, 1872-1878 -- (M2029, 58 rolls).

Freedmen's Savings and Trust

Freedmen's Savings and Trust -- (M816, 27 rolls)
Historical Note:
As the Civil War drew to a close, President Lincoln and members of Congress debated how to reunite the nation, reconstruct Southern society, and help formerly enslaved individuals make the transition to freedom and citizenship. As one response, in March 1865 Congress created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, commonly referred to as The Freemen's Bureau. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard Commissioner of the Bureau. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued, maintained his headquarters at Washington, D.C. Assistant commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the States.

The Bureau was responsible for providing assistance to four million formerly enslaved individuals and hundreds of thousands of impoverished Southern whites. The Bureau set up offices in major cities in the 15 Southern and border states and the District of Columbia.

The Bureau provided food, clothing, medical care, and legal representation; promoted education; helped legalize marriages; and assisted African American soldiers and sailors in securing back pay, enlistment bounties and pensions. In addition, the Bureau promoted a system of labor contracts to replace the slavery system and tried to settle freedmen and women on abandoned or confiscated land. The Bureau was also responsible for protecting freedmen and women from intimidation and assaults by Southern whites.

By most accounts, the Bureau was only partially successful. Congress did not provide sufficient funds or staff for the Bureau to be truly effective. The Bureau only operated from 1865 to 1872. It generally failed to protect the freedmen or their political and civil rights from white Southerners intent on re-establishing their local power.

Administered by the War Department, the Bureau followed the record-keeping system inspired by the war effort and the expansion of the Federal Government it required. Those hundreds of thousands of documents provide an unexcelled view into the lives of the newly freed slaves.
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch, International in 2015.
Rights:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865-1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
American South  Search this
Citation:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3f77c4d1b-093b-402c-b3a4-30fc55cb5f19
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb
Online Media:

Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872

Extent:
7 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1872
Summary:
This collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 7 rolls of microfilm described in NARA publication M742. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872. This collection contains seven volumes of letters sent, six volumes of endorsements sent, one volume of circulars issued, and one volume of special orders issued by the Commissioner. Also included are fourteen volumes of indexes. These records relate to the general operation of the Bureau.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M742.]

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands often referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau , was established in the War Department by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). Congress assigned to the Bureau responsibilities previously shared by the military commanders and the agents of the Treasury Department, which included the supervision of all affairs relating to refugees and freedmen and the custody of all abandoned or confiscated lands and property. The act also provided that the Bureau was to be headed by a Commissioner, appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

In May 1865 the President appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued in 1872, established his headquarters in Washington, D. C. Although the size and organization of the Bureau headquarters varied from time to time, Howard's staff consist primarily of an Assistant Adjutant General, an Assistant Inspector General, a Chief Medical Officer, a Chief Quartermaster, a Chief Disbursing Officer, and officers in charge of the Claim Division, the Education Division, and the Land Division.

The Bureau's operations were confined principally to the former Confederate States, the border states, and the District of Columbia. Assistant Commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the districts into which the States were divided. Officers subordinate to the Assistant Commissioners carried out the policies of the Bureau within the districts.

During the years of its greatest activity, the operations of the Freedmen's Bureau resembled, in many ways, the work of later Federal social agencies. In addition to supervising the disposition of the abandoned or confiscated lands, Bureau officers issued rations, clothing, and medicine to destitute refugees and freedmen. They established hospitals and dispensaries and supervised tenement and camps for the homeless. Bureau officers and members of philanthropic organizations cooperated in establishing schools, operating employment offices, and dispensing relief.

The main concern of the Bureau was the freedman. Bureau officers supervised the writing of labor contracts and terms of indenture, registered marriages, listened to complaints, and generally concerned themselves with improving almost all aspects of the freedman's life. In March 1866 the Bureau assumed the function of helping colored soldiers and sailors to file and collect claims for bounties, pensions, and pay arrearages.

By the beginning of 1869 most of the work of the Freedmen's Bureau had come to an end. An act of Congress approved on July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), provided that on January 1, 1869, the Commissioner was to withdraw the Bureau officers from the States and discontinue the functions of the Bureau except those relating to education and to the collection and payment of claims, effective June 30, 1872 (17 Stat. 366). All unfinished work, which by this time related chiefly to the collection and payment of claims, was transferred to the Freedmen's Branch that was established in the Office of the Adjutant General.

The volumes reproduced in the microcopy were originally arranged by type of record and thereunder in numerical sequence, with no numbers assigned to index books or to series consisting of single volumes. Later all the volumes were arbitrarily assigned numbers. In this microfilm publication the last set of numbers assigned are in parentheses and are useful only as an aid in identifying the volume.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
American South  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M742
See more items in:
Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io35bf596dc-b2cd-4323-89ea-f715a1e537ab
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m742
Online Media:

Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872

Extent:
74 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1872
Summary:
This collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 74 rolls of microfilm described in NARA publication M752. These digital surrogates reproduced 33 volumes of registers and indexes and the related unbound letters received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M752.]

HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, often referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). Congress assigned to the Bureau responsibilities previously shared by the military commanders and the agents of the Treasury Department, which included the supervision of all matters relating to the refugees and freedmen and the custody of all abandoned or confiscated lands and property. The act also provided that the Bureau was to be headed by a Commissioner, appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

In May 1865 the President appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard to be Commissioner of the Bureau. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued in 1872, established his headquarters in Washington, D. C. Although the size and organization of the central office varied from time to time, Howard's staff consisted primarily of an Assistant Adjutant General, an Assistant Inspector General, a Chief Medical Officer, a Chief Quartermaster, a Chief Disbursing Officer, and officers in charge of the Claim Division, the Education Division, and the Land Division.

Assistant Commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the States. The Bureau's operations were mainly confined to the former Confederate States, the border states, and the District of Columbia. Assistant Commissioners had staff offices comparable to those of the Commissioner and performed all functions of the Bureau under the direction of the central office in Washington. Officers subordinate to the Assistant Commissioner carried out the Bureau's policies and programs within the districts.

During the years of its greatest activity, the operations of the Freedmen's Bureau resembled the work of later Federal welfare agencies. In addition to supervising the disposition of abandoned and confiscated lands, Bureau officers issued rations, clothing, and medicine to destitute refugees and freedmen. They established hospitals and dispensaries and supervised tenements and camps for the homeless. Bureau officers and members of philanthropic organizations cooperated in establishing schools, operating employment offices, and dispensing relief.

The main concern of the Bureau was the freedman. Bureau officers supervised the writing of labor contracts and terms of indenture, registered marriages, listened to complaints, and generally were concerned with improving the life of the freedman. In March 1866 the Bureau assumed the function of helping colored soldiers and sailors to file and collect claims for bounties, pensions, and pay in arrears.

On July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), Congress ordered the Commissioner to withdraw Bureau officers from the States by January 1, 1869, and to discontinue Bureau activities except those relating to education and to the collection and payment of claims. The Bureau was abolished by an Act of Congress approved June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366), and effective June 30, 1872. All unfinished work, which by this time related chiefly to the collection and payment of claims, was transferred to the Freedmen's Branch that was established in the Office of the Adjutant General.

The records reproduced in this microcopy include the registers of letters received, the indexes to the registers, and the letters themselves. According to recordkeeping practices of the time, incoming letters were entered in registers of letters received. The registers include such information as the name or office of the correspondent, the date of the letter, the place from which the letter was sent, the date of receipt, and an abstract of its contents.

Before 1871, letters were entered in registers alphabetically by the initial letter of the surname or office of the writer and thereunder by date of receipt. Each entry was numbered according to a separate numerical sequence used for each letter of the alphabet, and the clerks usually began new sequences each January. Registers 2 and 3, which cover the period from October 1865 to February 1866, are an exception because separate numerical sequences were begun in October 1865 and in January 1866. Consequently, two numerical sequences exist under each alphabetical division in these two registers. In January 1871, the Freedmen's Bureau began to enter letters chronologically by date of receipt and to number them consecutively within each year. For this reason, register 18 (1871–1872) has two separate numerical sequences.

There are some variations in the order in which letters were entered in the registers. In registers with alphabetical divisions, letters of recommendation were entered under the name of either the person recommended, the person making the recommendation, or the person transmitting the recommendation to the Commissioner. Particularly in register 1, letters were not always entered upon receipt, and letters of application were entered at the end of each alphabetical division without regard to the date of receipt. In register 1 a few letters referred from other Government agencies antedate the establishment of the Bureau.

There are numerous breaks in the alphabetical sequences within the registers. These breaks occur because the number of pages allotted to each letter of the alphabet often proved to be insufficient, making it necessary to continue the entries elsewhere in the register. In each case, the National Archives has filmed the register in correct order so that these breaks do not appear on the microfilm. There are also breaks in the pagination of some registers because blank numbered pages were not filmed.

From time to time the clerks in the Commissioner's Office made errors in entering letters received in the registers. Some numbers in the sequences of assigned numbers were inadvertently omitted; consequently, there are no letters bearing such numbers. Occasionally registry numbers were repeated, giving two different letters the same file designation. The clerks usually added "1/2" to the second designation; but in cases where this correction was not made, the National Archives has added in brackets, "No. 1" and "No. 2," respectively.

Many symbols, cross–references, and abbreviations were entered in the registers by the Commissioner's Office and by the National Archives. The latter has stamped an asterisk (-"-) near the entry number for letters that are still in the series of letters received. The notation "F/W" before a cross–reference indicates that the letter received is filed with a related letter. There are some references to other series of records in the Commissioner's Office. The notations "LB" and "PLB" refer to the letter book and press letter book series of outgoing letters, and "EB" and "SO" refer to endorsement books and special orders, respectively.

Although a separate series of Endorsement Books was kept by Commissioner Howard's office, the endorsements from October 1865 to August 1866 were copied into the registers of letters received and are reproduced in this microcopy.

Two consolidated indexes, a general name index and a general subject index, are filmed on roll 1 of this microcopy. The general name index covers registers 1 – 12 and "A – H" of register 13; the general subject index covers registers 1 – 13. In the latter index the subject is entered alphabetically by initial letter. The entry identifies the letter received pertaining to a specific subject by giving either the number of the register and the file citation of the letter, or the register number and page number in the register on which the letter is entered.

Also reproduced are separate name and subject indexes to many of the registers. Neither kind of index exists for entries A – M in registers 4 and 5. Some of the indexes are bound in the registers; others are bound as separate volumes. On each roll the index has been filmed before the register to which it relates.

The registers reproduced in this microcopy were arranged in rough chronological order and numbered in sequence, but no volume numbers were assigned to the index books. Later all volumes were arbitrarily assigned numbers, which appear in parentheses in this microfilm publication and which are useful in identifying the volume.

The letters reproduced are arranged by order of their entry in the registers. According to the custom of other War Department offices, the Freedmen's Bureau generally filed correspondence under the name of the office of origin rather than the name of the writer. Letters from local agents and superintendents of Baton Rouge, for example, were forwarded through the Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Louisiana, and upon receipt in the central office at Washington they were entered in the register under "L" for Louisiana.

The file citation that appears on the back of registered letters is taken from the entry number in the register. In a citation such as "S 204 BRF&AL Vol. 9 1867," "S" is the initial letter of the correspondent's name or office; the number "204" indicates that it is the 204th letter recorded under "S"; "BRF&AL," that it was received by the Commissioner's Office; "Vol. 9," the register in which the letter was entered; and "1867," the year in which the letter was written.

Enclosures such as reports, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and printed publications were often registered and filed with their letters of transmittal. When the Commissioner's Office received a letter accompanied by enclosures, the clerks usually mentioned them in the register and on the back of the letter and indicated the number of enclosures.

Some letters, reports, and enclosures originally filed with the letters received are no longer in this series. Each of the Commissioner's staff offices maintained its own series of registers and letters received. Correspondence and reports received by Commissioner Howard were occasionally referred to staff offices and became part of their permanent records. Not all enclosures are filed with their letters of transmittal. Enclosures containing information that the central office wanted to keep together, such as reports on schools, lands, rations, and operations, were sometimes separated from their letters of transmittal and filed elsewhere in separate series. For this reason some of the reports that are registered as letters received and bear the file citation of the Office of the Commissioner are not among the series filmed in this microcopy.

Because the registers frequently were used to record the disposition of documents, they are useful in tracing documents that have been removed from the file. By 1871 the Commissioner's Office had added an "action" column to the register for this purpose, but even the earlier registers include such information as the name of the official or office to which a letter was referred, a cross–reference to indicate consolidation with other letters, and the disposition of enclosures.

A few letters received that were not registered and a few unidentified enclosures that were separated from their letters of transmittal have been arranged by year and are filmed on the last roll of this microcopy.

In the same record group as the documents described above are related records. Letters sent, endorsements sent, circulars issued, and special orders issued by the Commissioner are in Selected Series of Records Issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872 (Microcopy 742). There also are several series of reports and returns received by the Commissioner and records of staff and field offices.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
American South  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M752
See more items in:
Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3bc51bd30-2e20-4849-9cb2-d71ccaed9894
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m752
Online Media:

Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865–1874

Extent:
27 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1874
Summary:
The collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 27 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M816. These digital surrogates reproduced 55 volumes containing signatures of and personal identification data about depositors in 29 branch offices of the Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, 1865–1874.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M816.]

The Company was incorporated by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 510), as a banking institution established in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, for the benefit of freed slaves. The military savings banks at Norfolk, VA, and Beaufort, SC, were transferred to the Company soon after it was founded. From 1865 through 1870 a total of 33 branches were established, including an office that was opened in New York, NY, in 1866.

In 1874 the Company failed and by the terms of an act of Congress approved June 20, 1874 (18 Stat. 132), the trustees were authorized to select, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, three commissioners to take charge of the effects of the Company and to report on its financial state to the Secretary of the Treasury. The arrangement was altered by an act of Congress approved February 21, 1881 (21 Stat. 327), whereby the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized and directed to appoint the Comptroller of the Currency to administer the affairs of the Company. The Comptroller was made commissioner ex officio and he submitted annual reports to Congress. The final report on the trust company was submitted in 1920.

The information contained in many of the registers is as follow: account number, name of depositor, date of entry, place born, place brought up, residence, age, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband, children, father, mother, brothers and sisters, remarks, and signature. The early books sometimes also contain the name of the former master or mistress and the name of the plantation. In many entries not all the requested data are given. Copies of death certificates have been pinned to some of the entries. In each case the certificate has been filmed immediately after the page that shows the registration of the person's signature.

The registers are arranged alphabetically by name of State. The entries are arranged alphabetically by name of city where the bank was located, there under chronologically by date when the account was established, and there under numerically by account number. Many numbers are missing, a few are out of numerical order, and in some cases blocks of numbers were not used. Many registers seem to be missing. The volume for Philadelphia, PA, dated January 7, 1870, to June 26, 1874 contains signatures of officers of societies.

Filmed after these introductory remarks is an index that gives the location and the date of organization of the branch. The first part also gives the account numbers and the numbers of the rolls of microfilm on which the registers are filmed. There are no account numbers or registers available for the branches listed in the second part.

The records reproduced in this microfilm publication are part of the records in the National Archives designated as Record Group 101, Records of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Closely related records in the same record group include indexes to deposit ledgers (42 vols.). The ledgers are arranged alphabetically by name of State, there under by name of city, and there under by name of depositor. As the indexes to the deposit ledgers include the depositor's account number they can serve as a finding aid to the registers of signatures reproduced in this microcopy, which is not indexed. Other related records include loan and real estate ledgers and journals, 1870–1916, arranged roughly in chronological order; inspectors' reports, minutes of meetings of committees and a journal of the board of trustees, 1865–1874; dividend payment records, 1882–1889, arranged alphabetically by name of city and there under by depositor's account number; and letters received by the commissioners of the Company and by the Comptroller of the Currency as ex officio commissioner, 1870–1914. Interspersed among their records are legal papers, canceled checks, payrolls, expense checks, and passbooks.

Other record groups containing related documents are Record Group 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freemen, and Abandoned Lands, and Record Group 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's–1917.

The records reproduced in this microcopy were prepared for filing by Lockwood Wright, who also wrote these introductory remarks and provided the other editorial material.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
American South  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M816
See more items in:
Registers of Signatures of Depositors in Branches of the Freedman's Savings and Trust Company, 1865–1874
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3372cb18a-6043-40a3-84a8-c66948bfdafd
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m816
Online Media:

Response to Segregation: Building the Community

Creator:
Anacostia Museum  Search this
Names:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum  Search this
Collection Creator:
Smithsonian Institution. Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Extent:
1 Video recording (VHS)
Culture:
African American  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Video recordings
Place:
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Washington (D.C.)
United States
Date:
1991
Scope and Contents:
Focusing on Washington, D.C., Dr. Sharon Harley spoke of about the period in the United States following the Civil War known as Reconstruction. Specifically, she talked about the migration of Blacks to Washington, D.C.; the deterioration of racial relations beginning in 1880s and 1890s; increased discrimination in the federal government; community building in response to segregation; and the many organizations formed by Blacks. This lecture was part of docent training for the exhibition 'To Achieve These Rights: The Struggle for Equality and Self-Determination in the District of Columbia, 1791-1978.'
Lecture. Related to exhibition 'To Achieve These Rights: The Struggle for Equality and Self-Determination in the District of Columbia, 1791-1978.' Dated 19911106.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
African Americans  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Communities  Search this
Associations, institutions, etc.  Search this
Slavery  Search this
Segregation  Search this
Race relations  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Collection Citation:
To achieve these rights: the struggle for equality and self-determination in the District of Columbia, 1791–1978 exhibition records, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
ACMA.03-033, Item ACMA AV002126
See more items in:
To achieve these rights: the struggle for equality and self-determination in the District of Columbia, 1791–1978 exhibition records
To achieve these rights: the struggle for equality and self-determination in the District of Columbia, 1791–1978 exhibition records / Series 2: AudioVisual Materials
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa75dbdb731-0446-42c7-b373-58a442d8a873
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-03-033-ref510

Black Records Conference

Creator:
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum  Search this
Names:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum  Search this
Howard University  Search this
Morgan State College  Search this
United States. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands  Search this
United States.. National Archives and Records Administration  Search this
Berry, Mary Frances  Search this
Bethune, Mary McLeod, 1875-1955  Search this
Billingsley, Andrew  Search this
Crouch, Barry A., 1941-  Search this
Gutman, Herbert G. (Herbert George), 1928-1985  Search this
Haley, Alex  Search this
Johnson, Anthony, c. 1600 - 1670  Search this
Logan, Rayford Whittingham, 1897-1982  Search this
Low, W. Augustus  Search this
McConnell, Roland C. (Roland Calhoun), 1910-2007  Search this
Pinkett, Harold T.  Search this
Smith, Elaine M., 1942-  Search this
Collection Creator:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Extent:
6 Video recordings (open reel, 1/2 inch)
Culture:
African American  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Video recordings
Museum records
Conferences
Place:
Anacostia (Washington, D.C.)
Washington (D.C.)
Texas
United States
Date:
1973
Scope and Contents:
Scholars, historians, and archivists speak about their experiences working in archives and with archival materials, specifically negro, black, and African American records. W. Augustus Low speaks about his experience working in archives and with archivists as well as his work with the Freedmen Bureau records, and researching Civil Rights and Anthony Johnson (Jamestown colonist); he also speaks about other scholars who used archives for their articles published in the Journal of Negro History, which Low is editor. Harold Pinkett presents his paper about how records useful for research enter the documentary preserve designated as archives; the formation of the National Archives; early development of archival standards; and scattered government records related to black experience. Mary Frances Berry speaks about her good and challenging experiences working with National Archives records for her research on black soldiers, and later law and policing as related to African Americans. Elaine M. Smith explains her research on Mary McLeod Bethune using the National Archives. Roland C. Connell describes his experience working for the National Archives, and later researching Andrew Jackson and the negro soldier; he also speaks about his experience working with the archives at Morgan State College. Barry A. Crouch speaks about researching the Texas Freedmen's Bureau, Reconstruction, crime, black prisoners, and black schools in the National Archives. Andrew Billingsley talks about conducting research on slavery and the Freedmen's Bureau at the National Archives and Howard University. Herbert G. Gutman speaks about his research and work about black families and freedmen. Alex Haley talks about his study of African American families and working with archival material. Other scholars and archival professionals speak about using oral histories, specifically oral tradition and eyewitness accounts, to research Afro-American experience; using presidential libraries as a source for research on Afro-Americans; and the work of the special advisory committee to the National Historical Publication Commission, a committee on the publication on the papers of blacks.
Conference. Part of Conference Recordings. AV003052: part 1, dated 19730603. AV003539: part 2, dated 19730603. AV000825: part 3, dated 19730603 and 19730604. AV000813: part 4, dated 19730605. AV003048: part 5, dated 19730605. AV003072: part 6, dated 19730605. Presentations often continue onto the following recording.
Local Numbers:
ACMA AV003539

ACMA AV000825

ACMA AV000813

ACMA AV003048

ACMA AV003072
General:
Title transcribed from physical asset.
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist at acmarchives@si.edu.
Topic:
Archives  Search this
Public records  Search this
Oral history  Search this
Archivists  Search this
African American historians  Search this
Historians  Search this
African Americans  Search this
African American women  Search this
Civil rights leaders  Search this
African American families  Search this
Blacks -- Study and teaching  Search this
Blacks -- History  Search this
Slavery  Search this
Freedmen  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Crime  Search this
Schools  Search this
African American schools  Search this
African American military personnel  Search this
Racism  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Genre/Form:
Video recordings
Museum records
Conferences
Citation:
Black Records Conference, Record Group AV09-021, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
ACMA.AV09-021, Item ACMA AV003052
See more items in:
Conference Recordings
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa7604bd4c9-365f-4bb8-843e-2b6bb09282ae
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-av09-021-ref506

Americans All: Discrimination, racism, democracy, and freedom

Creator:
Todd, Tomlinson  Search this
Names:
Kuroki, Ben, 1917-2015  Search this
Sinatra, Frank, 1915-1998  Search this
Spencer, Cornelia, 1899-1994  Search this
Taylor, Glen H. (Glen Hearst), 1904-1984  Search this
Webb, Alvin  Search this
Collection Collector:
Whitehead, Henry P. (Prenton), 1917-2002  Search this
Extent:
1 Sound discs (lacquer)
Container:
Box 137
Type:
Archival materials
Audio
Sound discs (lacquer)
Date:
1947 February 2
Collection Restrictions:
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Collection Rights:
The Henry P. Whitehead collection is the physical property of the Anacostia Community Museum. Literary and copyright belong to the author/creator or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with the Anacostia Community Museum. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archives.
Topic:
Japanese Americans  Search this
Race discrimination  Search this
Racism  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
African Americans  Search this
Social policy  Search this
Civil rights  Search this
Liberty  Search this
Poetry  Search this
Radio programs  Search this
Democracy  Search this
Collection Citation:
Henry P. Whitehead collection, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Michael A. Watkins.
See more items in:
Henry P. Whitehead collection
Henry P. Whitehead collection / Series 3: Tomlinson D. Todd / 3.4: "Americans All" / 3.4.2: Sound Recordings
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/qa753b6eed4-6aa9-404f-a1ad-971e855fa64a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-acma-06-042-ref1073

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869

Extent:
36 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1869
Summary:
The collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 36 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M1027. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–69. The records consist of 43 bound volumes and 10.8 meters of unbound documents. The bound volumes include letters and endorsements sent, orders and circulars issued and received, registers of letters received, and other records. The unbound documents consist primarily of letters and reports sent and received.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M1027.]

HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

The Freedmen's Bureau, as the Bureau was commonly known, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507), and extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, appointed Commissioner by the President in May 1865, served in that position until June 30, 1872, when activities of the Bureau were terminated in accordance with an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366). Although the Bureau was a part of the War Department, its work was primarily social and economic in nature. Bureau officials cooperated with benevolent societies in issuing supplies to the destitute and in maintaining freedmen's schools; supervised labor contracts between black employees and white employers; helped black soldiers and sailors collect bounty claims, pensions, and backpay; and attended to the disposition of confiscated or abandoned lands and property.

The act of March 3, 1865, also authorized the appointment of assistant commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the States. In Louisiana, operations began in Tune 1865 when Assistant Commissioner Thomas W. Conway established his headquarters in New Orleans. The names and terms of the other Assistant Commissioners or Acting Assistant Commissioners in Louisiana are as follows: Gen. James S. Fullerton, October 4 – 18, 1865; Gen. Absalom Baird, October 19, 1865–September 7, 1866; Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, October 5–November 27, 1866; Gen. Joseph A. Mower, November 28, 1866–December 4, 1867; Lt. Col. William H. Wood, December 5, 1867–January 2, 1868; Gen. R. C. Buchanan, January 3-August 24, 1868; and Gen. Edward Hatch, August 25, 1868-January 1, 1869. In accordance with an act of July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), Bureau operations within the States were terminated on January 1, 1869, except for educational functions and the collection of claims.

The organization of the Bureau's staff in Louisiana was similar to that of the Bureau's headquarters in Washington, D. C. The Assistant Commissioner's staff consisted at various times of a Superintendent of Education, an Assistant Adjutant General, an Acting Assistant Adjutant General, an Inspector General, an Assistant Inspector General, a Surgeon-in-Chief, a Provost Marshal General of Freedmen, and a Chief Quartermaster. Subordinate to these officers were the subassistant commissioners who commanded the subdistricts. Under supervision of the subassistant commissioners were civilian and military superintendents, assistant subassistant commissioners, and agents.

Originally, Louisiana was divided, for administrative purposes, into several districts with an agent or superintendent in charge of each. On April 19, 1867, the State was reorganized into seven subdistricts with a subassistant commissioner in charge of each. Subdistrict headquarters were established at Baton Rouge, Franklin, Monroe, Natchitoches, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Vidalia.

The correspondence received and sent by the Office of the Assistant Commissioner is generally addressed to or signed by the Assistant Commissioner, Assistant Adjutant General, or the Acting Assistant Adjutant General. Occasionally, the Inspector General, the Assistant Inspector General, or the Superintendent of Education signed outgoing correspondence. The major correspondents in the series were General Howard; staff officers, subassistant commissioners, and other subordinate officers of the Bureau in Louisiana; Army officers attached to military commands in Louisiana and neighboring States; Louisiana political officials; white citizens and freedmen in Louisiana; and officials of the Bureau in other States.

The volumes reproduced in this microfilm publication were arbitrarily assigned numbers by the Adjutant General's Office (AGO) of the War Department after the records came into its custody. In the table of contents, the AGO numbers are shown in parentheses to aid in identifying the volumes because these numbers appear on the spines of the volumes. The volume numbers without parentheses were assigned by the National Archives and Records Service (NARS) staff. Numbered blank pages have not been filmed.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
American South  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M1027
See more items in:
Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3fd9af0c0-1d62-4818-981f-9d1a2dc0da13
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m1027
Online Media:

Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1863–1872

Extent:
111 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1863–1872
Summary:
The collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 111 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M1905. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the staff officers of the Assistant Commissioner and the subordinate field offices of the Louisiana headquarters of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1863–1872. These records consist of bound volumes and unbound records containing materials that include letters sent and received, monthly reports, registers of complaints, labor contracts, and other records relating to freedmen's claims and bounty payments.
Records Description:
These records consist of volumes and unbound records. The volumes reproduced in this microfilm publication were originally arranged by type of record and thereunder by volume number. All volumes were assigned numbers by the Adjutant General's Office (AGO) of the War Department after the records came into its custody. In this microfilm publication, AGO numbers are shown in parentheses to aid in identifying the volumes. The National Archives assigned the volume numbers that are not in parentheses. No numbers were assigned to series consisting of single volumes. In some volumes, particularly in indexes and alphabetical headings of registers, there are blank numbered pages that have not been filmed.

The volumes consist of letters and endorsements sent and received, press copies of letters sent, registers of letters received, letters and orders received, registers of freedmen court cases, special orders and circulars issued, registers of claimants, registers of complaints, marriage certificates, and monthly reports forwarded to the Assistant Commissioner. The unbound documents consist of letters and orders received, unregistered letters and narrative reports received, special orders and circulars issued, and general orders and circulars received. The unbound records also contain monthly reports, labor contracts, marriage certificates, and records relating to claims.

Some of the volumes contain more than one type of record, reflecting a common recording practice of clerks and staff officers of that period. On Roll 67, for example, the volume of applications for laborers for Bragg Home Colony also contains a register of complaints. Some other examples of additional series within volumes can be found in records on Rolls 72, 78, and others. Researchers should read carefully the records descriptions and arrangements in the table of contents to make full use of these documents.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M1905.]

HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). The life of the Bureau was extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. In May 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner of the Bureau, and Howard served in that position until June 30, 1872, when activities of the Bureau were terminated in accordance with an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366). While a major part of the Bureau's early activities involved the supervision of abandoned and confiscated property, its mission was to provide relief and help freedmen become self–sufficient. Bureau officials issued rations and clothing, operated hospitals and refugee camps, and supervised labor contracts. In addition, the Bureau managed apprenticeship disputes and complaints, assisted benevolent societies in the establishment of schools, helped freedmen in legalizing marriages entered into during slavery, and provided transportation to refugees and freedmen who were attempting to reunite with their family or relocate to other parts of the country. The Bureau also helped black soldiers, sailors, and their heirs collect bounty claims, pensions, and back pay.

The act of March 3, 1865, authorized the appointment of Assistant Commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the former Confederate states, the border states, and the District of Columbia. While the work performed by Assistant Commissioners in each state was similar, the organizational structure of staff officers varied from state to state. At various times, the staff could consist of a superintendent of education, an assistant adjutant general, an assistant inspector general, a disbursing officer, a chief medical officer, a chief quartermaster, and a commissary of subsistence. Subordinate to these officers were the assistant superintendents, or subassistant commissioners as they later became known, who commanded the subdistricts.

The Assistant Commissioner corresponded extensively with both his superior in the Washington Bureau headquarters and his subordinate officers in the subdistricts. Based upon reports submitted to him by the subassistant commissioners and other subordinate staff officers, he prepared reports that he sent to the Commissioner concerning Bureau activities in areas under his jurisdiction. The Assistant Commissioner also received letters from freedmen, local white citizens, state officials, and other non-Bureau personnel. These letters varied in nature from complaints to applications for jobs in the Bureau. Because the assistant adjutant general handled much of the mail for the Assistant Commissioner's office, it was often addressed to him instead of to the Assistant Commissioner.

In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard in July 1865, the Assistant Commissioners were instructed to designate one officer in each state to serve as "General Superintendents of Schools." These officials were to "take cognizance of all that is being done to educate refugees and freedmen, secure proper protection to schools and teachers, promote method and efficiency, correspond with the benevolent agencies which are supplying his field, and aid the Assistant Commissioner in making his required reports." In October 1865, a degree of centralized control was established over Bureau educational activities in the states when Rev. John W. Alvord was appointed Inspector of Finances and Schools. In January 1867, Alvord was divested of his financial responsibilities, and he was appointed General Superintendent of Education.

An act of Congress, approved July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), ordered that the Commissioner of the Bureau "shall, on the first day of January next, cause the said bureau to be withdrawn from the several States within which said bureau has acted and its operation shall be discontinued." Consequently, in early 1869, with the exception of the superintendents of education and the claims agents, the Assistant Commissioners and their subordinate officers were withdrawn from the states.

For the next year and a half the Bureau continued to pursue its education work and to process claims. In the summer of 1870, the superintendents of education were withdrawn from the states, and the headquarters staff was greatly reduced. From that time until the Bureau was abolished by an act of Congress approved June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366), effective June 30, 1872, the Bureau's functions related almost exclusively to the disposition of claims. The Bureau's records and remaining functions were then transferred to the Freedmen's Branch in the office of the Adjutant General. The records of this branch are among the Bureau's files.

THE FREEDMEN'S BUREAU IN LOUISIANA

ORGANIZATION

On June 13, 1865, Commissioner Oliver Otis Howard appointed Chaplain Thomas W. Conway as the Assistant Commissioner for Louisiana. At the time of his appointment, Conway headed the military's Louisiana Bureau of Free Labor, which managed the affairs of freedmen employed on "Abandoned" plantations. Conway transferred the Bureau of Free Labor to the newly established Freedmen's Bureau Louisiana headquarters at New Orleans. The parishes of Madison, Carroll, Concordia, and Tenasas in northeastern Louisiana were reassigned in January 1866 from the jurisdiction of the Assistant Commissioner for Mississippi to that of the Assistant Commissioner for Louisiana. The other Assistant Commissioners or Acting Assistant Commissioners in Louisiana and their terms of office were Gen. James S. Fullerton, October 4 – 18, 1865; Gen. Absalom Baird, October 19, 1865–September 1866; Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, October 5–November 27, 1866; Gen. Joseph A. Mower, November 28, 1866–December 4, 1867; Lt. Col. William H. Wood, December 5, 1867–January 2, 1868; Gen. R. C. Buchanan, January 3–August 24, 1868; and Gen. Edward Hatch, August 25, 1868–January 1, 1869.

When Conway took over as Assistant Commissioner, the state was divided into districts that were composed of one to three parishes and commanded by either an agent or superintendent. In April 1867, the state was reorganized into seven subdistricts headed by subassistant commissioners. Subassistant commissioners were required to file monthly inspection reports of their respective jurisdictions with the Assistant Commissioner. Agents or assistant subassistant commissioners, who were responsible for one to two parishes, received their instructions from and reported to subassistant commissioners. The major subordinate field offices for the Bureau in Louisiana included those with headquarters at Baton Rouge, Franklin, Monroe, Natchitoches, New Orleans, Shreveport, and Vidalia. For a list of known Louisiana subordinate field office personnel and their dates of service, see the appendix.

ACTIVITIES

The major activities of the Freedmen's Bureau field office in Louisiana generally resembled those conducted in other states. The Bureau provided various forms of relief to both freedmen and white refugees, supervised labor contracts, assisted freedmen in the establishment of schools, administered justice, helped freedmen locate land, and assisted blacks with military claims for back pay, bounty payments, and pensions.

Between June and September 1865, the Bureau in Louisiana issued some 455,290 rations to destitute freedmen and 157,691 to white refugees. With no appropriated funds from Congress, the Bureau relied on several sources to carry out these activities: income from confiscated property, requisitioned supplies from the army, aid from benevolent societies, and a three–dollar tax on black adult laborers. Despite the Bureau's efforts, however, tens of thousands of freedmen and refugees remained in dire straits throughout the state. The lack of available funds, continuous flooding, crop failures, and disease severely hampered the Bureau's relief programs. On March 30, 1867, Congress appropriated monies for a "Special Relief Fund" (15 Stat. 28). The fund authorized the Secretary of War, through the Freedmen's Bureau, to issue provisions and rations to destitute persons in Southern states, including Louisiana.

In response to the act, Commissioner Howard issued a circular on April 3, 1867 (Circular Number 11), that set aside $500,000 for the purpose.1 The agency maintained homes for refugees and orphans. Hundreds of refugees were housed in two hotels in New Orleans (the Commercial and the Western Verandah) and later the Marine Hospital. While most of the residents were from Louisiana, some were from Texas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Beginning in 1865, the Bureau provided assistance to several privately run orphan asylums in New Orleans and other areas of the state until its work for orphans was discontinued in September 1865. The Bureau also provided medical aid to freedmen and white refugees. In 1866, to help combat such diseases as cholera, yellow fever, and smallpox, seven doctors, on average, served under the Bureau in Louisiana: five at the New Orleans hospital and one at both the Shreveport hospital and the Rost Home Colony. The Bureau also maintained numerous dispensaries throughout the state. In spite of the closure of the Rost Home Colony hospital and most of the Bureau's dispensaries by the end of 1867, the agency in 1868 treated more than 8,500 freedmen for various infectious diseases. At the Rost Home Colony—one of the most successful of the four "Home Colonies" established in Louisiana—Bureau officials also issued rations and clothing, established a school, provided employment, and compiled a variety of personal data about individuals who arrived and departed from the Colony. Both the New Orleans and the Shreveport hospitals maintained registers of patients and the sick and wounded.2

The regulation of written labor agreements between planters and freedmen was a major concern of the Freedmen's Bureau. In a circular issued on December 4, 1865 (Circular Number 29), Bureau officials in Louisiana outlined the rules governing the free labor system in the state. Freedmen could choose their employers, and all contracts were to be approved by a Bureau agent. Wages were not set, but the circular declared that it was the freedmen's "Duty" to "obtain the best terms they can for their labor." Freedmen were required to work 26 days per month, consisting of 10–hour days in the summer and 9–hour days in the winter. Any work time exceeding 6 hours beyond the normal workday would constitute an additional day's work. In addition to wages, freedmen were also entitled to receive rations, clothing, "Comfortable" living quarters, and medical attention, and each family was to receive a half–acre plot to maintain a garden. Five percent of the freedman's monthly wages was to be retained by the employer for the purpose of sustaining schools for the freedman's children. In cases where freedmen desired to work for a share of the crop, employers were required to have sufficient amounts of provisions available for freedmen and their families each month. Also, employers who entered into share agreements were obligated to pay Bureau agents 1/20 of the amount of the freedmen's share of the crop each month for the benefit of freedmen schools.3

In the two years following the April 1862 occupation of New Orleans by Union troops, various civilian and military organizations established schools to educate freedmen in Louisiana. Gen. Nathaniel Banks's order of March 22, 1864 (Department of the Gulf General Order 38), established a board of education to govern the organization of freedmen's schools. B. Rush Plumly was appointed head of the board, and Lt. Edwin M. Wheelock became supervisor. Schools under the board's jurisdiction were supported mainly by a tax on citizens recently disloyal to the Union. On June 29, 1865, Assistant Commissioner Conway took charge of the schools, and on July 5, 1865, replaced Plumly and Wheelock with Capt. H. R. Pease as superintendent of education. Pease's successors included Bvt. Maj. A. G. Studer, Lt. F. R. Chase, J. M. Lee, L. O. Parker, H. H. Pierce, and E. W. Mason.

Pease divided the state into seven school districts, placing military and civilian personnel in charge. Under these officers were school directors responsible for each parish and "Canvassers" who collected the school tax for each district. At the time of his arrival, there were some 126 freedmen schools, with 230 teachers and approximately 19,000 students. However, with limited funds and intense opposition to the school tax, Circular Number 34, dated December 27, 1865, directed that all schools be "suspended until such time as it may be found practicable to re-establish them on a permanent and self–supporting basis."4

In February 1866, then–Assistant Commissioner Baird sought to make schools self–supporting through a tuition plan. Despite Baird's new plan and congressional appropriations of 1866 and 1867 for freedmen education in the South, the Freedmen's Bureau's educational programs in Louisiana continued to face financial difficulties. In June 1868, Congress authorized the Bureau to sell school buildings to private groups that were willing to maintain freedmen schools, and the Bureau entered into cooperative agreements with such groups as the American Missionary Society, the Methodist Freedmen's Aid Society, and the Free Mission Baptists. Under the agreements, the Bureau provided monies for construction of the school buildings, and the religious organizations maintained the schools. In 1870, the cooperation between the Bureau and religious groups led to significant progress in the establishment of numerous freedmen schools in Louisiana. Despite their efforts however, freedmen schools continued to suffer from the effects of limited resources, lack of competent teachers, and a segregated school system.5

Safeguarding rights and securing justice for freedmen was of paramount concern to the Freedmen's Bureau. Following the Civil War, several Southern states enacted a series of laws, commonly known as "Black Codes," that restricted the rights and legal status of freedmen. Freedmen were often given harsh sentences for petty crimes, and in some instances were unable to get their cases heard in state courts. Assistant Commissioners were directed to "adjudicate, either themselves or through officers of their appointment, all difficulties arising between Negroes themselves, or between Negroes and whites or Indians."6 Assistant Commissioner Conway issued Circular Number 15 (September 15, 1865), authorizing his subordinates to establish freedmen courts in cases where freedmen were not receiving just treatment. Conway's successors—Fullerton, Baird, and Sheridan—believed that civil officers in most parishes administered justice impartially in freedmen cases, and so abolished the special tribunals as unnecessary. Nevertheless, Bureau officers were still required to represent freedmen in court cases and refer the most extreme cases of injustice to United States courts. In the latter part of 1866, fearing that freedmen's rights were not being adequately protected, Assistant Commissioner Joseph Mower re–instituted some Bureau judicial functions that had been previously suspended by his predecessors. William H. Wood, who succeeded Mower, told Bureau agents during his tenure that only in cases where the evidence clearly showed the civil court's failure to administer justice, were they to become involved. Wood's replacement, Gen. Robert C. Buchanan, like Fullerton, Baird, and Sheridan, continued the policy of leaving matters of justice to civil authorities. By the time Gen. Edward Hatch assumed office as Assistant Commissioner in 1868, Louisiana had restored its constitutional relations with the Federal Government, and matters concerning justice were returned to the state.7

The Southern Homestead Act (14 Stat. 66), approved by Congress on June 21, 1866, made available for public settlement 46 million acres of public lands in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Six million acres of this Federal land was located in Louisiana. The act specifically prohibited discrimination against applicants due to race, and thus offered Louisiana freedmen and others an opportunity to become landowners. Only persons who headed households or were former United States soldiers were eligible to apply. A five–dollar application fee was required of all applicants, which allowed them to settle on an 80–acre tract and gain permanent possession after five years of cultivation. Generally, the Freedmen's Bureau, through "Locating Agents," assisted interested freedmen in finding plots, and provided them with one-month subsistence, free transportation to their prospective tracts of land, and seeds for initial planting. By January 1867, J. J. Saville, as locating agent, found homesteads for 87 freedmen, 73 whites, and 14 soldiers. However, because the New Orleans land office was closed, only 7 were able to file applications. While limited resources and the lack of suitable lands for settlement hindered freedmen in their effort to acquire land, freedmen also faced intense opposition from whites who opposed black land ownership. Freedmen were thus encouraged by Bureau officials in Louisiana to settle on land in large numbers in order to protect themselves from intense opposition by whites.8

An act of Congress on June 14, 1864, authorized the payment of bounties, not to exceed $100, to black soldiers who had entered the military after June 15, 1864, and who were free on April 19, 1861 (14 Stat. 126). Amendments in 1866 dropped the requirement of freedom at enlistment and offered additional bounties of $100 for those blacks who had signed on for three years, and $50 for individuals who enlisted for two years. To assist black soldiers and their heirs in filing bounty and other military claims against the Federal Government, a claims agency was initially established in the United States Sanitary Commission. On July 14, 1865, Commissioner Howard authorized Freedmen's Bureau officials to act as agents of the Commission and to assist it in filing for black military claims. However, freedmen often rejected the free services of the agency and paid fees to private claims agents, believing that they would receive their money quicker. In 1867, concerned about abuse and fraud in the settlement of black military claims, Congress passed a law making the Freedmen's Bureau the sole agent for payment of claims of black veterans (15 Stat. 26). From October 31, 1866, through September 30, 1867, the Bureau in Louisiana settled claims amounting to just $1,489.73. However, one year later, 240 veterans' claims amounting to $52,058 were settled, with 484 remaining to be resolved.9

ENDNOTES

1 Howard A. White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970), 64 – 76.

2 Ibid., 76 – 85; For a discussion of the establishment and activities at Rost Home Colony, see Michael F. Knight, "The Rost Home Colony: St. Charles Parish, Louisiana," Prologue 33, No. 1 (Fall 2001): 214 – 220; Records relating to the Freedmen's hospital at New Orleans have been reproduced on Records of the New Orleans Field Offices, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1483, Rolls 1 – 7); For Shreveport hospital records, see Roll 101 in this publication.

3 House Ex. Doc. 70, 39th Cong., 1st Sess. Serial Vol. 1256, pp. 30 – 33.

4 White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana, pp. 166 – 175; See also House Ex. Doc. 70, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., Serial Vol. 1256, pp. 35 – 36.

5 White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana, 176 – 200.

6 House Ex. Doc. 11, 39th Cong., 1st Sess., Serial Vol. 1255, pp. 45 – 46.

7 White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana, 134 – 165.

8 Ibid., 59 – 63.

9 Howard A. White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana, pp. 160 – 162; See also, Annual Reports of the Assistant Commissioners, Louisiana, October 5, 1868 [pp. 19 – 20], Records of the Office of the Commissioner, Record Group 105, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
Freedmen's Bureau Personnel in Louisiana:
This list provides the names and dates of service of known Freedmen's Bureau personnel at the Plantation Department and selected subordinate field offices in Louisiana. Where noted, officers served at two locations. Additional information regarding persons assigned to various field offices might be found among the Bureau's Washington headquarters station books and rosters of military officers and civilians on duty in the states and other appointment–related records.

PLANTATION DEPARTMENT

July 1865–May 1866 -- Superintendent Capt. Frank Bagley

May–Sept. 1866 -- Superintendent C. R. Stickney

Oct. 1866–June 1867 -- Assistant Quartermaster W. B. Armstrong

ABBEVILLE

Apr. 1867–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner A. N. Murtagh

ALEXANDRIA

June 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Assistant Superintendent S. G. Williams

May–Nov. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner S. G. Williams

Nov. 1867–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George Buttrick

June–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner H. P. Hathaway

ALGIERS

May 1865–Apr. 1866 -- Provost Marshal of Freedmen William E. Dougherty

May 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent Richard Folles

Apr. 1867–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Richard Folles

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Isaac Stathem

AMITE

Sept.–Dec. 1865 -- Assistant Superintendent H. H. Rouse

Dec. 1865–Feb. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent Edward Ehrlich

Feb.–Apr. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent W. K. Tillotson

Apr.–Nov. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent James Hough

Nov. 1866–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner James Hough

May–Nov. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George F. Austin

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Joseph D. Buckley

BATON ROUGE

May–June 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 2nd Subdistrict George F. Schager

July 1867–Jan. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 2nd Subdistrict William H. Webster

Jan.–June 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 2nd Subdistrict Frank D. Garretty

July–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 2nd Subdistrict Charles Hill

Feb.–Apr. 1866 -- Agent M. J. Sheridan

July 1866 -- Agent E. C. Phetteplace

Oct. 1866 -- Agent Abner Doane

Jan.–May 1867 -- Agent William H. Webster

July 1867-Jan.1869 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William H. Webster

Feb.–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George Inness

June–July 1968 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Charles Hill

July–Nov. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner S.H.B. Schoonmaker

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. Woods Coleman

BAYOU SARA

Dec. 1865 -- Agent C. W. Hawes

Jan. 1865–May 1866 -- Agent A. H. Nickerson

May–Sept. 1866 -- Agent G. M. Ebert

Sept.–Oct. 1866 -- Agent Richard M. Leake

Nov.–Dec. 1866 -- Agent Alexander M. Massie

Jan.–May 1867 -- Agent E. T. Lewis

May–June 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. T. Lewis

June–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner A. Finch

Oct. 1867–Mar. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner A. Finch (also St. Francisville)

Mar.–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George C. Dunwell (also St. Francisville)

May–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Robert M. Davis

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner F. W. Gibson (also St. Francisville)

CARROLLTON

Apr.–May 1867 -- Agent Elijah Guion

May–Aug. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. J. Saville

Sept. 1867–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George Bruning

May–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William Wright

CLINTON

Feb. 1866 -- Agent A. W. Hayes

May 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent James DeGrey

Apr. 1867–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner James DeGrey

May–July 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George C. Dunwell

Aug.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner H. E. Barton

COLUMBIA

Feb.–Dec. 1866 -- Agent William H. Webster

Dec. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent William M. Todd

Apr.–July 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William M. Todd

Aug. 1867–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. J. Sullivan

June–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Charles De Lowenstrom

DONALDSONVILLE

Feb. 1866 -- Agent A. Milliken

Mar.–June 1866 -- Agent St. Clair Mandeville

June–July 1866 -- Agent Henry Krause

Aug.–Oct. 1866 -- Agent Alexander M. Massie

Mar. 1866 -- Agent J. D. Rich (also St. James)

Apr.–Oct. 1866 -- Agent John H. Brough (also St. James)

Nov. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent John H. Brough (also Donaldsonville)

Apr. 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner John H. Brough

Sept.–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Victor Benthien

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner James H. Dobie

FRANKLIN

June–Dec. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 3rd Subdistrict S. W. Purchase

Dec. 1867–Jan. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 3rd Subdistrict J. W. Keller

Jan.–Feb. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 3rd Subdistrict W. F. Lynch

Feb.–Nov. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 3rd Subdistrict William H. Webster

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 3rd Subdistrict Victor Benthien

Dec. 1864–July 1865 -- Provost Marshal Sidney E. Shepard (also Brashear City)

July–Sept. 1865 -- Provost Marshal Sidney E. Shepard (also Franklin)

Sept. 1865 -- Provost Marshal E. P. Bishop

Sept.1865–Jan 1866 -- Provost Marshal Charles E. Merrill

Jan.–Apr. 1866 -- Agent Charles E. Merrill

May 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent J. W. Keller

Apr.–Dec. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. W. Keller

Jan.–Feb. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George C. Dunwell

Feb.–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner R. W. Mullen

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner W. F. Loan

HAMMOND STATION

May–July 1866 -- Agent James A. Hudson (also Springfield)

June–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Francis Garrett (also Hammond Station)

Nov. 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner P. H. Murphy

HOMER

Dec. 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William Stokes

HOUMA

Dec. 1865–Jan. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent George H. Harris

Jan.–May 1866 -- Agent Henry S. Wadsworth

June 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent George A. Ludlow

Apr.–Nov. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George A. Ludlow

Dec. 1867–July 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William Woods

July–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner M. W. Morris

JESUITS BEND

Jan.–Apr. 1863 -- Provost Marshal Silas Sawyer (also St. Bernard Parish)

Aug.–Oct. 1864 -- Provost Marshal William Bragg

Oct.–Nov. 1864 -- Provost Marshal Capt. George Breuning

May 1864–July 1865 -- Provost Marshal Lt. Charles Brooks

Sept.–Dec. 1865 -- Provost Marshal Charles W. Gardiner (also De Cros Station)

Feb.–June 1866 -- Agent Charles W. Gardiner

June 1866–Mar. 1867 -- Agent George F. Schayer (also Aliance Plantation)

Apr. 1867 -- Agent George F. Schayer

May–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Theodore Jaques

Dec. 1867–Jan. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward S. Wilson

Jan.–Aug. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. H. Hosner

LAKE PROVIDENCE

Jan. 1866–May 1867 -- Agent George W. Rollins

May–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George W. Rollins

Oct. 1867–Jan. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Thomas H. Hannon

Jan.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. H. Masters

MADISONVILLE

Oct. 1866 -- Agent A. J. Rose

Nov. 1866–May 1867 -- Agent W. H. R. Hangen

May 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner W. H. R. Hangen

Sept.–Nov. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner W. H. R. Hangen (also Covington)

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Thomas H. Jenks, Jr. (also Covington)

MANSFIELD

Mar. 1867–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. J. Walsh

May–Aug. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Michael Cary

Aug.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward Henderson

MARKSVILLE

Mar–Aug. 1866 -- Agent Amos S. Collins (also Evergreen)

Aug. 1866–May 1867 -- Agent Amos S. Collins (also Marksville)

May 1867–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Amos S. Collins

May–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Cyrus H. Ross

MILLIKEN BEND

May 1864 -- Assistant Provost Marshal D. McCall

Nov.–Dec. 1864 -- Provost Marshal Benjamin F. Cheney

May–Sept. 1867 -- Assistant Subasistant Commissioner C. P. Varney

Sept.–Dec. 1867 -- Assistant Subasistant Commissioner T. F. Cummins

Jan.–Feb. 1868 -- Assistant Subasistant Commissioner A. J. Baby

Feb.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subasistant Commissioner John S. Shaw

MONROE

Mar. 1867–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of 5th Subdistrict Samuel C. Gold

Mar. 1867–Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of 5th Subdistrict W. W. Webb

Aug.–Nov. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of 5th Subdistrict John H. Bowen

Sept.–Oct 1865 -- Assistant Superintendent Frank Morey

Feb.–Mar. 1866 -- Agent J. H. Wisner

Apr. 1866 -- Agent H. A. Pease

May 1866–Jan. 1867 -- Agent Joseph Burns

Feb.–June 1867 -- Agent Frank Morey

June–Nov. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Charles C. Swenson

Nov. 1867–Apr. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner W. R. Wheyland

Apr.–Aug. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward K. Russ

Aug.–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward K. Russ (also Trenton)

Oct.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner H. L. Irwin (also Trenton)

MONTGOMERY

June 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner D. W. White

NAPOLEONVILLE

May–Nov. 1865 -- Provost Marshal J. W. Greene

Dec. 1865–Feb. 1866 -- Agent Francis S. Dodge

Feb. 1866–May 1867 -- Agent A. C. Ellis

May–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner O. H. Hempstead, Jr.

Nov. 1867–May 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner John W. Sword

May–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Julius Lovell

NATCHITOCHES

June 1867–May 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 4th Subdistrict James Cromie

May–July 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 4th Subdistrict Isaac N. Walter

July 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 4th Subdistrict N. B. McLaughlin

July–Nov. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 4th Subdistrict G. A. Hewlett

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 4th Subdistrict Theodore W. De Klyne

Feb.–Apr. 1866 -- Agent W. H. Henderson

May 1866–May 1867 -- Agent James Comie

May 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Charles Miller

Aug.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. H. Hosner

NEW IBERIA

Dec. 1865–Jan. 1866 -- Agent Edmund C. Burt (also St. Martinsville)

Jan. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent William H. Cornelius (also St. Martinsville)

Apr.–July 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William H. Cornelius (also St. Martinsville)

Aug. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner I. W. Keller (and A. A. C. Leblanc, Clerk, St. Martinsville)

Sept.–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner L. Jolissaint

Nov. 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner John T. White

NEW ORLEANS

May 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner for Orleans Parish Left Bank A. N. Murtagh

June–Aug. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner for Orleans Parish Left Bank L. Jolissaint

Sept. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner for Orleans Parish Left Bank W. H. Cornelius

Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner for Orleans Parish Left Bank John T. White

Nov. 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner for Orleans Parish Left Bank L. Jolissaint

Apr.–Dec. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Comissioner for St. Bernard and Plaquemine Parishes Ira D. M. McClary (also Kenilworth Plantation)

Jan. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Comissioner for St. Bernard and Plaquemine Parishes Oscare A. Rice (also Chofield Plantation)

Jan.–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Comissioner for St. Bernard and Plaquemine Parishes P. J. Smalley (also Chofield Plantation and P. O. Lock Box 841)

June–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Comissioner for St. Bernard and Plaquemine Parishes H. M. Whittmore (also Merritts Plantation)

NEW ROADS

Mar. 1866 -- Agent Thomas H. Hopwood (see Labatuts Landing)

Apr.–July 1866 -- Agent Thomas H. Hopwood

July 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent H. F. Wallace

Apr.–Nov. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner H. F. Wallace

Nov. 1867–Feb. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner M. Basso (also Point Coupee)

Feb.–Apr. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner C. J. Lorigan (also Waterloo)

Apr.–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner C. J. Lorigan (also New Roads and Waterloo)

July–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Victor Benthien

PLAQUEMINE

Jan. 1865 -- Provost Marshal M. Masicot

Feb.–Oct. 1865 -- Provost Marshal Nelson Kenyon

Oct. 1865 -- Provost Marshal James M. Eddy

Dec. 1865 -- Agent A. R. Houston

Feb.–Apr. 1866 -- Agent J. C. Stimmell

May 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent F. A. Osbourn

Apr.–Dec. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner F. A. Osbourn

Jan.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. Charles Merrill

ST. JOSEPH

Aug.–Oct. 1865 -- Agent David L. Jones

Nov. 1865 -- Agent A. Roberts

Nov.–Dec. 1865 -- Agent A. Hemingway

Jan.–Feb. 1866 -- Agent R. D. Mitchell

Feb. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent J. H. Hastings

Apr.–May 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. H. Hastings

May 1867–Aug. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward Henderson

SHREVEPORT

May 1867–July 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 7th Subdistrict Martin Flood

Aug. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 7th Subdistrict Frank D. Garretty

Oct.–Dec. 1865 -- Assistant Superintendent D. H. Reese

Dec. 1865–Apr. 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent L. Horrigan

May–June 1866 -- Agent E. E. Williams

June 1866 -- Assistant Superintendent William P. Hagardon

June 1866–May 1867 -- Assistant Superintendent Martin Flood

May 1867–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Thomas F. Monroe

Sept. 1869–Sept. 1870 -- Superintendent of Education James McCleery

SPARTA

Dec. 1866–Feb. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner E. W. Dewees

Feb.–June 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George Schayer

June–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward Newell Bean

THIBODEAUX

Aug. 1866 -- Agent C. P. M. Taggart

Feb.–Mar. 1867 -- Agent S. A. Kohly

Mar.–Apr. 1867 -- Agent J. D. Rich

May–June 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. D. Rich

June–Nov. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. A. A. Robinson

Nov. 1867–Apr. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Francis Sternberg

Apr.–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Nelson Bronson

Sept.–Oct. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner I. H. Van Antwerp

Oct.–Nov. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William S. MacKenzie

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner William Hollenback

TRINITY

May 1867–July 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner M. Johnson Lemmon (also Prairie Landing)

Aug. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. H. H. Camp (also Mossy Farm Plantation)

Sept.–Nov. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner J. H. H. Camp (also Trinity)

Nov.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Van R. K. Hilliard

VERMILLIONVILLE

Jan. 1866–Apr. 1867 -- Agent S. W. Purchase

May 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner S. W. Purchase

May 1867–Jan. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Edward Lindemann

Jan.–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Oscar A. Rice

VERNON

May 1867–Sept. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner W. Bishop

VIDALIA

May–June 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 6th Subdistrict J. H. Hastings (also St. Joseph)

June–Oct. 1867 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 6th Subdistrict J. H. Hastings (also Vidalia)

Nov. 1867–July 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 6th Subdistrict George W. Rollins

July–Aug 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 6th Subdistrict Frank D. Garretty

Aug.–Dec. 1868 -- Subassistant Commissioner of the 6th Subdistrict George W. Rollins

Aug.–Sept. 1865 -- Agent J. H. West

Feb. 1868–Apr. 1867 -- Agent B. B. Brown

Apr.–June 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner B. B. Brown

June–Oct. 1867 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner George H. Dunford

Sept. 1867–July 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Christian Rush

July–Dec. 1868 -- Assistant Subassistant Commissioner Alexander Hamilton
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
American South  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M1905
See more items in:
Records of the Field Offices for the State of Louisiana, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1863–1872
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3715385ab-bad6-45b7-9cdc-0f1ce227fe93
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m1905
Online Media:

Records of the Superintendent of Education for the State of Tennessee, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870

Extent:
9 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1870
Summary:
This collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the nine rolls of microfilm described in NARA publication M1000. These digital surrogates reproduced the records of the Superintendent of Education for the State of Tennessee, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870. The records consist of eight volumes and some unbound documents. The volumes include letters and endorsements sent and registers of letters received. The unbound documents consist primarily of letters and reports received.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M1000.]

HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION

The Freedmen's Bureau, as the Bureau was commonly known, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507), and extended twice by acts of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, appointed Commissioner by the President in May 1865, served in that position throughout the existence of the Bureau. In January 1869, in accordance with an act of July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), Bureau operations in the States were terminated except for educational functions and the collection of claims. These activities were terminated June 30, 1872, as required by an act of June 10, 1872 (17 Stat. 366).

Although the Bureau was part of the War Department, its work was primarily social and economic in nature. The Bureau cooperated with benevolent societies in issuing supplies to destitute persons and in maintaining freedmen's schools; supervised labor contracts between black employees and white employers; helped black soldiers and sailors collect bounty claims, pensions, and backpay; and attended to the disposition of confiscated or abandoned lands and property. In Tennessee, Bureau officials expended much time and effort seeking to protect freedmen from intimidation and physical violence at the hands of hostile whites.

The act of March 3, 1865, authorized the appointment of assistant commissioners to aid the Commissioner in supervising the work of the Bureau in the States. In July 1865, Brig. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk took command as the Assistant Commissioner in Tennessee with headquarters at Nashville. From July 1865 until June 1866 the Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee also had jurisdiction over the State of Kentucky and the northern part of Alabama.

In a circular issued by Commissioner Howard in July 1865, the Assistant commissioners were instructed to designate an officer in each State to serve as "General Superintendents of Schools." These official were to "take cognizance of all that is being done to educate refugees and freedmen, secure proper protection to schools and teachers, promote method and efficiency, correspond with the benevolent agencies which are supplying his field, and aid the Assistant Commissioner in making his required reports." In October 1865 a degree of centralized control was established over Bureau educational activities in the States when Rev. John W. Alvord was appointed Inspector of Finances and Schools. In January 1867 Alvord was divested of his financial responsibilities and was redesignated General Superintendent of Education.

The educational activity of the Bureau in Tennessee was under the direction of Brigadier General Fisk until the appointment of Lt. Col. Alexander M. York as Superintendent of Education on July 28, 1865. He was succeeded on August 23, 1865, by John Ogden, later President of Fisk University at Nashville, who served until May 1866. His successor, Rev. David Burt, served until April 1868, at which time Bvt. Lt. Col. James Thompson assumed the office. Thompson served concurrently as Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee until April 1869. In May 1869 Bvt. Lt. Col. Charles E. Compton, former Assistant Commissioner of North Carolina, became Superintendent of Education and served in that capacity until July 1870, when all Bureau educational activities in the State ceased. Information on educational matters during the tenures of York and Ogden may be found among the records of the Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee. There is very little documentation of educational efforts in the States prior to March 1866 in the records if the Superintendent of Education.

The Superintendent of Education served under the Assistant Commissioner as a staff officer. Subordinate to both the Assistant Commissioner and the Superintendent of Education were subassistant commissioners (with headquarters at Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Pulaski) who commanded the five subdistricts into which the State was divided. Subassistant commissioners supervised all Bureau activities, including education, in their respective areas and reported on educational matters to both the Superintendent of Education and the Assistant Commissioner, The subdistricts were further subdivided into agencies, usually coinciding with counties. Among the more significant of these local offices were those headquartered at Columbia, Gallatin, Jackson, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Springfield, and Trenton.

The schools maintained by the Bureau in Tennessee included day schools for children, night schools for adults, and Sabbath schools. Rudimentary education, including reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography, received primary emphasis in most Bureau schools. Teachers were recruited from the local white population, from among the freedmen themselves, and from the North by the freedmen's aid societies.

The Bureau's responsibility for education in Tennessee included establishment and maintenance of schools and the examination and appointment of teachers. Bureau funds were used to pay for construction and repair of school buildings, for rental of properties used for educational purposes, and for providing teachers with transportation. A number of schools established by local whites and freedmen were subsequently given direction and support by the Bureau. Teachers' salaries and cost of textbooks were provided by the aid societies and the freedmen.

The volumes reproduced in this microfilm publication were originally arranged by type of record and thereunder by volume number. Originally, no numbers were assigned to series consisting of single volumes; later, all volumes were arbitrarily assigned numbers by the Adjutant General's Office of the War Department after the records came into its custody. In this microfilm publication, the last set of assigned numbers are shown in parentheses and are useful as an aid in identifying the volumes. Numbered blank pages have not been filmed.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
American South  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M1000
See more items in:
Records of the Superintendent of Education for the State of Tennessee, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io309593b2c-724e-41e4-b947-d0019f700e20
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m1000
Online Media:

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869

Extent:
50 Reels
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reels
Date:
1865–1869
Summary:
The collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 50 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M826. These digital surrogates reproduced the Records of the Superintendent of Assistant Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869. They consist of 41 volumes and approximately 30 feet of unbound records. The volume include letters and endorsements sent; registers of letters received; orders issued and received; registers of indentures and marriages; a register of reports, vouchers, and requisitions received; and index books. The unbound records consist mainly of letters received, orders, reports, freedmen's labor contracts, and a few miscellaneous papers.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M826.]

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, often referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). Congress assigned to the Bureau responsibilities that previously had been shared by the military commanders and by the agents of the Treasury Department. The duties included supervision of matters concerning refugees, freedmen, and abandoned property. Under the provisions of the initial legislation, the Bureau was to have been terminated 1 year after the close of the Civil War. It was twice extended by laws of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 83). Its functions were limited by an act of July 25, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), effective January 1869, to education and assistance in the collection of claims. Remaining Bureau functions were terminated following the discontinuance of the Bureau in 1872, in accordance with a law of June 10 of that year (17 Stat. 366).

In May 1865, the President appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard Commissioner of the Bureau. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued, maintained his headquarters at Washington, D. C. Assistant Commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the States.

The first Assistant Commissioner of Mississippi was Col. Samuel Thomas, who established his headquarters at Vicksburg in June 1865.1 Although the size and organization of the office varied from time to time, the Assistant Commissioner's staff usually included an Acting Adjutant General, an Assistant Inspector General, a Surgeon in Chief, a Superintendent of Education, a Disbursing Officer, and a Chief Commissary of Subsistence.

At first, the officers subordinate to the Assistant Commissioner were organized in a hierarchical manner. The State of Mississippi and the parishes of Madison, Carroll, Concordia, and Tensas in northeastern Louisiana were divided into the Western, Southern, and Northern Districts, with an Acting Assistant Commissioner in charge of each district. Subassistant commissioners in charge of subdistricts, which usually encompassed several counties, reported to the Assistant Commissioners, who, in turn, reported to the Assistant Commissioner. In January 1866, the Louisiana parishes were placed within the jurisdiction of the Assistant Commissioner for Louisiana. In March 1866, the three districts were discontinued; thereafter, the subassistant commissioners of the civilian agents in charge of subdistricts reported directly to the Assistant Commissioner.

The policies and programs of the Freedmen's Bureau in Mississippi were established by the Assistant Commissioner and administered primarily through subordinate officers. Bureau officials, in cooperation with benevolent societies, established school for freedmen and issued food, clothing, and medical supplies to refugees and freedmen. They approved or disapproved freedmen's labor contracts and indentures, investigated freedmen's complaints, kept registers of the marriages of freedmen, and helped black soldiers and sailors to file and collect claims for bounties, pensions and pay arrearages. In addition, the Assistant Commissioner maintained several freedmen's hospitals and colonies for destitute freedmen, and provided transportation to return refugees to their homes or to convey freedmen to distant jobs.

In 1865 and 1866, much of the work of the Assistant Commissioner concerned the custody of abandoned property of former supporters of the Confederacy. Officers of the Bureau leased much of the abandoned property and used the proceeds to finance Bureau activities. The Assistant Commissioner maintained colonies for destitute freedmen on several of the abandoned plantations and sometimes utilized abandoned buildings as Bureau offices. The Assistant Commissioner, however, with the approval of the Commissioner of the Bureau, restored most of the property to former owners who signed loyalty oaths or received Presidential pardons.

Colonel Thomas was succeeded by three others officers who acted as both assistant commissioners and military commanders in Mississippi. In April 1866, Gen. Thomas J. Wood was appointed Assistant Commissioner for Mississippi, he was succeeded in January 1867 by Gen. Alvan C. Gillem. Appointed Assistant Commissioner in March 1869, Gen. Adelbert Ames established his headquarters at Jackson and supervised the closing of the office of the Assistant Commissioner. The appointment of General Ames was revoked April 30, 1869.

When the Freedmen's Bureau was abolished, its records were sent to the Office of the Adjutant General. Clerks in the Adjutant General's Office numbered the volumes or book records and prepared "indexes" or lists of these books, in this microfilm publication the number assigned to the volume by the clerks in the Adjutant General's Office appears in parenthesis. This number is useful only as a more precise method of identifying the volume.

ENDNOTES

1 Before his appointment to the Freedmen's Bureau, Colonel Thomas served in Mississippi within Chaplain John Eaton's "Freedmen's Department" of the Department of the Tennessee. During the Civil War, several commanders of military departments delegated the superintendence of freedmen's affairs in occupied areas to special organizations, often referred to as "Freedmen's Department." The functions and activities of the Freedmen's Department in Mississippi were similar to those of the later Freedmen's Bureau.
Related Materials:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
American South  Search this
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M826
See more items in:
Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1869
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3ce9b91b1-56e7-4e5b-9e79-fa23e5a1fb59
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m826
Online Media:

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of North Carolina Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870

Extent:
38 Microfilm
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Microfilm
Date:
1865–1870
Summary:
This collection is comprised of digital surrogates previously available on the 38 rolls of microfilm described in the NARA publication M843. These digital surrogates reproduced the previously un–filmed records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of North Carolina, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–70. The records consist of 32 volumes and approximately 20 linear feet of unbound records. The volumes include letters and endorsements sent; registers of letters received; telegrams sent and received; special orders, general orders, and circulars; register of persons recommended as inspectors of elections; a register of apprentices indentured; and index books. The unbound series consist mainly of letters received, orders, reports, and freedmen's labor contracts. These documents were created or received by the Assistant Commissioner, the Acting Assistant Commissioner, or either of two staff officers who acted for the Assistant Commissioner.
Historical Note:
[The following is reproduced from the original NARA descriptive pamphlet for M843.]

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, often referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865 (13 Stat. 507). Congress assigned to the Bureau responsibilities that previously had been shared by military commanders and by agents of the Treasury Department. The duties included supervision of all affairs relating to refugees, freedmen, and the custody of abandoned lands and property. Under provisions of the initial legislation, the Bureau was to have been terminated 1 year after the close of the Civil War. It was twice extended by laws of July 16, 1866 (14 Stat. 173), and July 6, 1868 (15 Stat. 193), effective January 1869. Remaining Bureau functions were terminated following the discontinuance of the Bureau in 1872, in accordance with a law of June 10 of that year (17 Stat. 366).

In May 1865 the President appointed by Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard Commissioner of the Bureau. Howard, who served until the Bureau was discontinued, maintained his headquarters at Washington, D. C. Assistant commissioners supervised the work of the Bureau in the States.

Col. Eliphalet Whittlesey, the first Assistant Commissioner of North Carolina, established his headquarters at Raleigh in June 1865. Although the size and organization of the staff of the Assistant Commissioner varied from time to time, it usually included an Assistant Adjutant General, an Assistant Inspector General, a Surgeon in Chief, a Superintendent of Education, and a Disbursing Officer.

The policies and programs of the Freedmen's Bureau in North Carolina were established by the Assistant Commissioner and administered through his subordinate officers. Bureau officials, often in cooperation with benevolent societies, established schools for freedmen and issued food, clothing, and medical supplies to refugees and freedmen. They also approved or disapproved freedmen's labor contracts and indentures, investigated freedmen's complaints, and helped black soldiers and sailors to file and collect claims for bounties, pensions, and pay arrearages. The Assistant Commissioner maintained several freedmen's hospitals and colonies for the destitute, and provided transportation to return refugees to their homes or to convey freedmen to distant jobs.

During 1865 and 1866 much of the work of the Assistant Commissioner related to the custody of abandoned property of former supporters of the Confederacy. Officers of the Bureau leased much of the abandoned property and used the proceeds to finance Bureau activities. Sometimes buildings were utilized as Bureau offices and several abandoned plantations were used by the Assistant Commissioner as freedmen's camps or colonies. However, the Assistant Commissioner restored most of the property, as the Commissioner directed, to former owners who signed loyalty oaths or received Presidential pardons.

The first Assistant Commissioner divided North Carolina into four districts—with headquarters located at Newbern, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Goldsboro—and thereunder into subdistricts. The officers in charge of districts were designated superintendents and those in charge of subdistricts, assistant superintendents. On July 1, 1867, the basic unit of organization for the State was changed to the subdistrict. Eleven subdistricts were established, each containing from two to four further subdivisions. The officers in charge of the subdistricts were designated subassistant commissioners, and those who administered smaller segments of the subdistrict were titled assistant subassistant commissioners. Each of the subassistant commissioners reported directly to the Assistant Commissioner.

March 1, 1868, marked the last change in the organization of the North Carolina Bureau. The State was divided into the four subdistricts of Morganton, Wilmington, Raleigh, and Goldsboro, but there was provision for smaller subdivisions in each subdistrict. This new subdivision of the State resembled the first in organizational structure, although titles for the various officers remained the same as those of the second organizational structure. By May 1869 all of the Bureau offices and functions except education, were phased out in North Carolina, and the Assistant Commissioner closed his office the first week of that month.

The following officers succeed Col. Eliphalet Whittlesey as Assistant Commissioner of North Carolina: Bvt. Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger, May–June 1866; Bvt. Maj. Gen. John C. Robinson, June–November 1866; Col. James V. Bomford, November 1866–April 1867 (Acting Assistant Commissioner); Bvt. Maj. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, April 1867–October 1868; Bvt. Lt. Col. Jacob F. Chur, October 1868–January 1869; Bvt. Maj. Gen. Nelson A Miles, February–March 1869; Bvt. Lt. Col. Charles E. Compton, April May 1869.

When the Freedmen's Bureau was abolished, its records were sent to the Office of the Adjutant General. Clerks in the Adjutant General's Office numbered the volumes or book records and prepared "indexes" or lists of these books. In this microfilm publication the number assigned to the volume by the clerks in the Adjutant General's Office appears in parenthesis. This number is useful only as a more precise method of identifying the volume.
Related Archival Materials note:
See also Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection
Provenance:
Acquired from FamilySearch International in 2015.
Restrictions:
Freedmen's Bureau Digital Collection, 1865–1872, is a product of and owned by the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Copyright for digital images is retained by the donor, FamilySearch International; permission for commercial use of the digital images may be requested from FamilySearch International, Intellectual Property Office, at: cor-intellectualproperty@ldschurch.org.
Topic:
Freedmen's Bureau  Search this
American South  Search this
Slaves -- Emancipation  Search this
Reconstruction, U.S. history, 1865-1877  Search this
Citation:
Courtesy of the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration, FamilySearch International, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Identifier:
NMAAHC.FB.M843
See more items in:
Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of North Carolina Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1870
Archival Repository:
National Museum of African American History and Culture
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/io3b3ca913d-3802-465f-86e1-b567bbd543a2
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmaahc-fb-m843
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