Documents Associated
with the
History of the Freedmen's Bureau
The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands was created in response to the War of
Rebellion's emancipation of slaves by President Lincoln's
Emancipation Proclamation. Eventually there
would be some bureau operations in all states and the District of Columbia where slaves were emancipated
by the 13 Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Both the Department of War and the Treasury Department
dealt with issues regarding slaves and former slaves during the War. In the Department of War various field
commanders would made policy and create structures to deal with the "contraband" and later freedmen.
The Treasury department would use a series of special agents. At the beginning of the bureau the work of
these other agencies were gradually consolidated into the bureau which reported to (and was mainly staffed
by) the War Department. For the success that the Bureau had it depended on various institutions in the
north as the National Freedmen's Relief Association and the American Missionary Association (among
many, many others) that provided teachers, clothing, and other supplies. Despite its many problems and
failures it helped built the public school system and higher education system that still functions across the
southern states and provided immediate and critical support for the newly freed slaves and returning

November 7, 1861 - Port Royal, South Carolina captured by the United States Navy and Army.

January 15, 1862 - General T. W. Sherman sends letter requesting teachers for the ex-slaves.

Feb 4, 1862 - New England Freedmen's Aid Society formed.

Feb 20, 1862 - The National Freedman's Relief Association formed in  New York.

May 30, 1862 - General Rufus Saxton appointed Military Governor of the Department of the South (South
Carolina, Georgia and Florida).

January 1, 1863 -
Emancipation Proclamation

March 3, 1865 - Freedmen's Bureau created (13 Stat. 507)

May 1865 -  President Andrew Johnson appointed Maj. Gen. Oliver Otis Howard as Commissioner of the

July 1865 - Commissioner Howard instructs  the Assistant Commissioners to designate one officer in each
state to serve as -Freedmen's Superintendents of Schools.

December 4, 1865 -
2nd Freedmen's Bureau Bill

December 6, 1865 - Ratification of the 13th Amendment

February 19, 1866 - President Andrew Johnson vetoes bill

February 20, 1866 - Congress fails to override veto.

April 9, 1866 -
Civil Rights Act of 1866

July 3, 1866  - Andrew Johnson vetoes new Freedmen's Bureau bill

July 13, 1866 - Army Appropriations Act (14 Stat. 90) funds Bureau

July 16, 1866  - Freedmen Bureau renewed (14 Stat. 173)

July 6, 1868 - Freedmen Bureau renewed  (15 Stat. 83)

July 28, 1868 - Ratification of the 14th Amendment.

February 3, 1870 - Ratification of the 15th Amendment

November 30, 1870 Rev Alvord resigns as head of Education Department.

June 10 1872 - Freedmen's Bureau terminated by an Act of Congress (17 Stat. 366)

June 30, 1872 - O. O. Howard  position terminated.

National Officers of the Bureau
Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands - General O. O. Howard,
General Eliphalet Whittlesey (Acting Director, 1872)

General Superintendent of Schools  - Rev. John Alvord (1866-1870)

Chief Quartermaster, Bureau of R.F. & A. L. - Henry M. Whittlesey (1869)

Claims Division - William P. Drew (1869)

Subsistence Distribution -   Lieutenant Colonel George W. Balloch (1865)

Chief Disbursing Officer - Lieutenant Colonel George W. Balloch (1865 - 1869)

Chief Medical Officer - Dr. Caleb W. Horner  (1865), L. A. Edwards (1868-1869), Robert Rayburn

Inspector General - General W. E. Strongl

Division of Records - Col. J. S. Fullerton

Land Division - Major William Fowler

Officers of the Freedmen's Bureau for a Listing by State

1st Confiscation Act

2nd Confiscation Act

Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln's Amnesty Act of December 8, 1863

Rules and Regulations for Leasing Abandoned Plantations and Employing Freedmen - Mississippi Valley

Statute Authorizing Freedmen's Bureau

Attorney General James Speed Opinion on Lands Purchased by the United States at Direct Tax Sales -
Jurisdiction of Freedmen's Bureau

Attorney General James Speed Opinion on Duty of Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau (Abandoned

13th Amendment to the United States Constitution

An Act to Continue in force and to amend "An Act to establish a Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and
Refugees - July 16, 1866

President Andrew Johnson's Proclamations to End the War of the Rebellion

A Resolution in reference to the Collection and Payment of Bounties, March 29, 1867

Inspector's Report of Schools for the Freedmen's Bureau

General O. O. Howard's Circular No. 2

General O. O. Howard Circular 15 Abandoned Lands July 28, 1865

General O. O. Howard - Circular Letter - Lands Not to Be Divided - November 11, 1865

General O. O. Howard - Circular No. 20 - Care of People on Abandoned Lands - November 30, 1865

General O. O. Howard - Circular Letter - More info on the Bureau and Marriage - March 2, 1866

An Act for Repeal of President Johnson's Authority to Grant Amnesty, January 21, 1867

An Act Relating to the Freedmen's Bureau and Providing for Its Discontinuance  - July 25, 1868

Robert Rayburn Chief Medical Officer Medical Report by O O Howard - Annual 1869

Appendix E - Abstract from Educational Report - June 30, 1869

         South Carolina, Georgia and Florida

General Rufus Saxton's Circular No. 2 - August 16, 1865

General Rufus Saxton's Circular No. 3 - Abandoned Lands and Freedmen Farmers - May 22, 1865

General Rufus Saxton's Circular No. 4 - October 12, 1865

General Rufus Saxton's General Order No. 5 - August 9, 1865

General Rufus Saxton's General Order No. 7 - Staff Assignments - August 9, 1865

General Rufus Saxton's General Order No 8 - Marriage Rules - August 11, 1865

General O O Howard Circular Letter on Labor - October 24, 1865

Transportation Billing - June 5, 1869


Circular No. 6 - Property Redemption - Col Thomas Osborn  - September 9, 1865

Circular No. 2 - Rations and Labor Contracts - Col. Thomas Osborn - September 21, 1865

Circular No. 9 - Judges of Probate and Labor Contracts - Col Thomas Osborn - November 15, 1865

Report of Agent Ansel Kinne to Col. Thomas W. Osborn - October 15, 1866

Report of General John G. Foster Assistant Commissioner Florida to General O. O. Howard - Oct, 1866

Special Orders No. 5 Appointing Peter Benet Agent of the Freedmen's Bureau for Bradford County Florida

Amnesty Oath of David Rainy- October 18, 1865

Florida Laws against African Americans 1865-1866 - American Freedmen July 1866

Letter to Dr. N. D. Benedict about Magnolia Hospital - November 28, 1866

Circular for Hospital at Magnolia - March 30, 1866

American Union Questionaire to T. W. Osborn - April 23, 1866

Report by American Freedman Summing up Col Sprague's report on Florida, 1867

Orphans Asylum Teacher Salaries - January 16, 1867

Order of Supplies for Magnolia Hospital - January 25, 1867

Transportation Letter to General Hallack - February 20, 1867

Dispursement Problems and Procedures for Magnolia Hospital - April 11,1867

Sprague Circular - April 29, 1867

Registers for Bounty and Arrears - 1868

Night School Rent in St. Augustine - January 21, 1868

Circular #1 John T. Sprague February 20th, 1868

Board for Establishing Rent of School in St. Augustine - March 4, 1868

Ocala Ration List - May 19, 1868

Case of Patty Murray (Internal letter on claim) - January 15, 1869

Rent Established for School in St. Augustine - March 5, 1868

Claim, Charles Williams 34th USCT Co A - August 16, 1869

Letter from Capt J. K Durkee to Captain J Murray Hough, Bounty Claims Dec 9, 1869

Claim, Thomas Hernandez 33d USCT Co B - December 28, 1869

Case of Patty Murray (Letter from George Atwood) - September 5, 1870

Case of Patty Murray (Letter from George Atwood) - October 3, 1870

Case of Patty Murray (Letter from George Atwood) - October 8, 1870

Certified Copy of Certificate of Marriage - Benjamin Martin and Patty Murray - Oct 8, 1870

Letter to Claim Division on Patty Murray Case - Nov 26, 1870

Patty Murray Affidavit Form No. 3 - October 8, 1870

Certified Copy of Renewal of Marriage - Andrew Murray and Patty Murray - Oct 8, 1870

Bounty Claim - Jacob Stuart - August 19, 1871

Duval County (Jacksonville)
Jacksonville Provost Marshall Wedding Records 1860s

Ration Request Fernandina Florida Area - March 1866

Sub Assistant Commissioner Captain Thomas Laddy Monthly Report - March 1866

Jefferson County
Elbo Plantation Labor Contract - January 30, 1867

John Numizier depostion for Bounty  1870

Loyalty Oath of Samuel Dunlap August 12, 1865

Loyalty Oath of John Henry - August 22, 1865

Restoration of an Abandoned Plantation on St. Simeon Island, Georgia - February 14, 1866

Response of General Tillson to American Union Questionaire, April 1866

Internal Revenue License W. H. Clark Physician License May 11, 1866

How to Get a Presidential Pardon - Sept 1, 1866
Loyalty Oath Unknown Montgomery County - October 11, 1864

Railroad Loyalty Oath of Jerry Nolan - March 1, 1862

 North Carolina
Rev. S. S. Ashley, Wilmington, N. C. 1867

 South Carolina
Letter to General O. O. Howard over Abandoned Plantation on Johns Island, South Carolina Sept 8, 1865

National Freedman's Relief Association Broadside Appeal for Clothing Winter 1866

Letter to AMA from C. Thurston Chase on Proposal for Old Folks Home on Johns Island SC - April 16,

American Union Questionaire to General Fisk - April 23, 1866
General O. O. Howard
Commissioner Freedmen's Bureau
General Rufus Saxton
Assistant Commissioner
South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
Col Thomas W. Osborn
Assistant Commissioner Florida
Col John T. Sprague
Assistant Commissioner Florida
General Clinton Fisk
Assistant Commissioner
Kentucky and Tennessee
General John W. Sprague
Assistant Commissioner Arkansas
Department of the South
Inspectors Report of Schools
for the Freedmen's Bureau
Assorted Documents
Freedmen Aid Societies
Freedmens Bureau Assorted
Port Royal Experiment
St. Augustine and the Civil
33rd USCT
Department of the South
Port Royal Experiment
USCT Bounties
Freedmen's Aid Societies
Bureau Educational Activities
Freedmen Bureau Education
Assorted Documents
Freedmen's Bureau Table of
Freedmen's Bureau Assorted
Previous Page
Next Page
History of the Freedmen's Bureau Guide
Custom Search