Congressional Report
Bureau of Freedmen and Refugees
{To accompany bill H. R. No. 598}
History of the Bureau of Freedmen and Refugees
March 10, 1868
Table of Contents
Introduction................................................................................................................................... .1

Condition of Affairs Before the Bureau was etablished.......................................................................4

Protection and Justice.......................................................................................................................5

Labor and Wages..............................................................................................................................6

Destitution and Relief.........................................................................................................................7

The Sick, and Medical Aid................................................................................................................7

Clothing and Transportation................................................................................................. .............9

Abandoned Lands...........................................................................................................................10

Public Lands and Homesteads.........................................................................................................16

Finance...........................................................................................................................................16

Expenditures....................................................................................................................................18

Destitute Relief Funds......................................................................................................................18

Retained Bounty Fund.....................................................................................................................18

School Fund....................................................................................................................................19

Pay, Bounty, and Prize Money Fund................................................................................................19

Recapitulation....................................................................................................................................20

Education..........................................................................................................................................20

Continuance of the Bureau...............................................................................................................25

Additional Documentation

                                                   Short Biographies

Chase, Salmon Portland.............................................................................................................  2

Eliot, Thomas Dawes..................................................................................................................TC

Lincoln, Abraham....................................................................................................................... 1

Howard, Oliver Otis ................................................................................................................... 2

Howe, Timothy Otis.................................... ............................................................................. TC

Johnson, Andrew.......................................................................................................................... 4

McCord, David O. ........................................................................................................................ 8

Speed, James............................................................................................................................... 13

Stevens, Thaddeus.......................................................................................................................  3

Sumner, Charles ........................................................................................................................  3

Thomas, Lorenzo.........................................................................................................................  7

Whittlesey, Elipalhet...................................................................................................................  5

                                                             Tables
Table A - Table exhibiting  the number of hospital, dispensaries, and outdoor stations in
         operation in the year ending June 30, 1869..................................................................
8

Table B - Consolidated Report of Freedmen treated and died July 1, 1868 to June 30, 1869....   9

Appendix B - Consolidated Subsistence Report.............................................................................  7

Appendix D - Transportation Report............................................................................................. 10

Table E - Table indicating the number of physicians and hospital attendants in the Bureau in the
        year ending June 30, 1869.............................................................................................  
8

Appendix E - Abstract from Educational Report

Appendix F. Report of Claim Division.......................................................................................... 19
General O. O. Howard
Introduction -
The Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Lands was created on March 3, 1865 and remained
in effect until June, 1871. The idea of the bureau began much earlier with the introduction of a bill in the U.
S. House of Representatives by Congressman T. D. Eliot for a Bureau of Emancipation on January 17,
1863. It was referred a Select Committee on Emancipation and Colonization. The session ended without
any action. January 18, 1864 Mr. Howe, of Wisconsin introduced a bill to establish a Bureau of
Emancipation. Referred to the Select Committee on Slavery Even without the Bureau contrabands were
appearing at Union lines and the work was carried on by the United States army, the U.S. Treasury
Department and many northern benevolence societies. The
Port Royal Experiment in Port Royal South
Carolina was one area in which ideas that would be incorporated into the Freedmen's Bureau were
tested. The end of the war in the months after the Bureau was created unleashed new problems as a
devastated south began the process of recovery. Basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter and
medical care were urgently needed by the freedmen and destitute white southerners. Public education,
creating a free labor force out of the ex-slaves and creating even the basic institution of marriage were
concerns of the bureau.

This report to the House of Representatives was part of the attempt to renew the Bureau in 1868. This
renewal occurred over the veto of Andrew Johnson and represented one of the first passages of a major
piece of legislation over a Presidential veto. The bureau was controversial not only because its mission
was to help the freedmen, but it was also partially the vehicle of the Republican Party to establish party
control over the south.

The bureau would have its success and failure. This report will hopefully help you decide how much the
bureau actually accomplished.

Notes:
1. Thomas Dawes Eliot, a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Boston, Mass., March 20,
1808; attended the public schools of Washington, D.C., and was graduated from Columbian College
(now George Washington University), in that city, in 1825; was admitted to the bar in 1831 and
commenced practice in New Bedford, Mass.; member of the State house of representatives in 1839;
served in the State senate in 1846; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-third Congress to fill the vacancy
caused by the resignation of Zeno Scudder and served from April 17, 1854, to March 3, 1855; declined
to be a candidate for renomination in 1854; delegate to the Free-Soil Convention in Worcester, Mass., in
1855; declined to be a candidate for nomination by the Republican Party for attorney general of
Massachusetts in 1857; elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth and to the four succeeding Congresses
(March 4, 1859-March 3, 1869); chairman, Committee on the Freedman's€™s Bureau (Thirty-ninth and
Fortieth Congresses), Committee on Commerce (Fortieth Congress); declined to be a candidate for
renomination in 1868; resumed the practice of law in New Bedford, Mass., where he died on June 14,
1870; interment in Oak Grove Cemetery. (
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)

2.
Select Committee on Emancipation and Colonization - This committee was formed on April 7,
1862
(see
1862 report)

3.
Timothy Otis Howe, a Senator from Wisconsin; born in Livermore, Androscoggin County, Maine,
February 24, 1816; attended the common schools and graduated from the Maine Wesleyan Seminary;
studied law; admitted to the bar in 1839 and commenced practice in Readfield, Maine; moved to
Wisconsin in 1845 and settled in Green Bay; judge of the circuit court and supreme court justice of
Wisconsin 1850-1853, when he resigned; unsuccessful Republican candidate for the United States
Senate in 1856; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1860; reelected in 1866 and 1872
and served from March 4, 1861, to March 3, 1879; unsuccessful candidate for reelection; chairman,
Committee on Enrolled Bills (Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Congresses), Committee on Claims (Thirty-
ninth through Forty-second Congresses), Committee on the Library (Thirty-ninth Congress, Forty-first
Congress, Forty-third through Forty-fifth Congresses); served as a commissioner for the purchase of the
Black Hills territory from the Indians; delegate to the International Monetary Conference held at Paris in
1881; appointed Postmaster General in the Cabinet of President Chester Arthur in 1881, and served until
his death in Kenosha, Wis., on March 25, 1883; interment in Woodlawn Cemetery, Green Bay, Wis.
(
Biographical Directory of the United States Congress)
Department of the South
Port Royal Experiment
USCT Bounties
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