Congressional Report
History of the Bureau of Freedmen and Refugees
March 10, 1868
Page 10
Congressional Records
United States Sanitary Commission - was created June 18, 1861 Its purpose was to promote clean
and healthy conditions in the United States  Army camps. The Sanitary Commission staffed field hospitals,
raised money, provided supplies, and worked to educate the military and government on matters of health
and sanitation. The medical corps was indifferent and in some cases hostile; the War Department was in
opposition; President Lincoln feared that it would be a " fifth wheel to the coach." But finally the acting
surgeon-general was won over and recommended the appointment of " a commission of inquiry and advice
in respect to the sanitary interests of the United States forces."   The purpose of the commission became:
"To inquire into the recruiting service in the various States and by advice to bring them to a common
standard; second, to inquire into the subjects of diet, clothing, cooks, camping grounds, in fact everything
connected with the prevention of disease among volunteer soldiers not accustomed to the rigid regulations
of the regular troops; and third, to discover methods by which private and unofficial interest and money
might supplement the appropriations of the Government. "

2. Transportation was a big issue. The benevolent societies providing teachers were able to concentrate
their money strictly in teacher salaries and even this was eventually supplemented by freedmen fund raising
and later some tax dollars. Transportation of people and supplies became a key pillar of the Freedmen
Bureau's education program. (See
Transportation Bill) (See also Letter to General Hallack)

3. See
Opinion of Attorney General Speed on Duty of Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau with
regard to abandoned lands.

4. General O. O. Howard in his Circular No. 5 to Assistant Commissioners sets the land issue of the
bureau as: "Assistant commissioners will aid refugees and freedmen in securing titles to land according to
law. This may be done for them as individuals or by encouraging joint companies."

5. General Howard in Circular No. 11 broadens this to include rented land: "Attention is especially called
to section IV of the law establishing the bureau with regard to setting apart land to every male citizen,
whether refugee or freedmen, &c, and the same arrangement is recommended when it can be effected
between private parties. Already many farmers have rented land to freedmen and refugees. This course is a
recognition of the general principle in the law."

6. O O. Howard had to combat that all plantation lands would be considered as Abandoned lands and
broken up. (
See Circular Letter)

7. O. O. Howard
Circular No. 15 describes the determination of abandoned lands.
Department of the South
Port Royal Experiment
USCT Bounties
Freedmen's Aid Societies
Bureau Educational Activities
Freedmen Bureau
Education Assorted
Freedmen's Bureau
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Freedmen's Bureau Assorted Documents
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