|Letter to General Howard over Abandoned Plantation
on Johns Island, South Carolina
September 8, 1865
Camden So Ca,
Sept 8th 1865
Major General, O. O. Howard.
I have noticed in a number of the Charleston Courier (date, Sept 1st) an advertisement of T. C. Callicot Sup. Special
Agent by which we are directed to apply to yourself, at Washington for information concerning abandoned lands.
I would respectfully state to you that in 1861 I was required by military authority to remove from my tract of land
situated on John’s Island, in this State, which has been occupied from then till the past winter by troops of one or both
sections of the United States. My absence there from, cannot be considered voluntary therefore; nor have, I been
“engaged either, in arms or otherwise, in aiding or encouraging the rebellion”
In quoting the above passage of the Act relating to abandoned lands I do not make use of it to recommend myself,
above others of my fellow citizens, as I should, not expect to gain your respect by doing, so, but simply to state the
legal facts as it exists. My ill health excused me from taking any part in the late war. I would also state that on the 17th
day of June, last I took the Oath of Allegiance, as administered by the then acting Lieutenant Provost Marshal of
Camden So Ca. The tax on my land has not yet been paid, as the commissioner left the City early in the Summer
stating that the taxes could be paid again in the autumn.
I have thus dear Sir, stated the facts as they exist, and will now be obliged to you for such information as may lead to
the recovery of my only remaining property.
You will please let me, know whether I am not, under the circumstances stated entitled to a rent, or portion of the crop
raised, on my land this Summer,
Very Respectfully J. E. Matthews
J. E. Mathews, M. D.
Camden S. C.
Sept. 8, 1865
Matthew J. E.
Makes inquiries respecting ? of his property in Johns Island SC
? Department Bureau RF&AL
Washington Sept. 21, 1865
Respectfully returned to Dr. J. E. Matthews with copy of Circular No. 15.
? ? from this Bureau
By order of Maj. Gen O. O. Howard
Commissioner, RF &AL
Apt Adj Gen
Headquarters, Assistant Commissioner,
Bureau Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands,
Charleston, S. C., May 31st, 1866
Mr. J. E. Mathews an applicant for the restoration of a Plantation on Johns Island S. C. said to contain 230 acres and
bounding on the North by Kiaevair river and by land of Estate of Ben. Mathews, South by Abbapooa creek and west by
land of E. B. Bryan. held by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, having confirmed to
requirements of Circular, No. 15, of said Bureau, dated Washington, D.C., September 12, 1865, there being no freed
persons who rightfully occupy the same under Special Field Orders, No. 15, of Major-General Sherman, dated
Savannah, Ga., January 16, 1865, is hereby restored to his possession: it being understood that such restoration
does not include the rents or other profits that may have accrued to the United States government during the time the
said property has been in its possession; and that any land now under cultivation by loyal refugees or freedmen, who
may not be entitled to hold the same as aforesaid under the said Orders, will be held by them until the crops now
growing, or yet unharvested, shall be secured for their sole use and benefit, unless a full and just compensation for
their labor and its products, to their satisfaction, be made, with the written approval of the Assistant Commissioner.
R M Scott
Bvt. Maj. General,