|James P Blake
General Agent for the Distribution of Relief
February 19, 1865
American Missionary Association H5527
Beaufort S. C. Feb 19th 65
Mr dear Sir
Having been appointed by Gen Saxton General Agent for the distribution of Relief sent to the Black Refugees in his
Dept and having in that capacity provided for the distribution of some goods sent here by the American Missionary
Association, I now take pleasure in reporting to you that 19 bbls of clothing sent by your per schooner Gersh Bankir
made firs on the ground and more immediately given out to the suffering Blacks, through Mr Richardson your agent
Your promptness in sending these goods deserves special commendation in view of the rapid passing of the extreme
cold weather (which has turned fatal to hundreds of these almost naked people) and is especially conspicuous in
contrast with the delay of the N. Y. Freedmen’s Aid Society whose goods did not leave N. Y. till the 2d of February.
Permit me to suggest, however that where hastes is required a sailing vessel is greatly to be avoided. Not only on
account of inferior speed and ability to detention, but chiefly because the limited warfage of these ports and rigid
exactions of military law, often cause delays of months in discharging a cargo.
On the 5th of February at Gen Saxton’s request I went to Hilton Head to see if any goods for the Refugees were
detained there, and after much search found bbls stored in Dunbar and Franz’s storehouse directed to Rev. Mr.
Richardson. On one knew whence they came or how, nor when they were to get to Beaufort. By two days hard work I
succeeded in getting this red tape which held them untied, the taxes, military ? , remitted, and the free use of
Government teams, and transportation to Beaufort. These privileges were irregular because the goods had arrived in
a private vessels, to hasten the forwarding of the goods which must otherwise have been at least two weeks more on
Having no salary or allowance from Govt. and having incurred an expense of about $7 by these services, I have
rendered a bill for that amt to Rev. Mr. R. to be forwarded to you. As I cannot afford to bear myself the expense of the
Relief System I have rendered accounts to other Societies for expenses of their consignments some of which have
been already paid I have striped myself by advances of needed funds and will be obliged for prompt settlement. Mr. R
intends to distribute most of your future consignments at Savannah
With great Respect,
James P Blake
Note: James P. Blake was from New England and went to South Carolina to find a job under General Saxton's
direction. He helped distribute supplies to the freedmen who followed General Sherman's army and became involved
in organizing schools on Edisto Island. He was appointed the general superintendent on Edisto Island by the New
England Freedmen's Association.