Congressional Report
History of the Bureau of Freedmen and Refugees
March 10, 1868
Page 4
Congressional Records
1. Another $500,000 would cover the cost of rations that were given to freedmen and white refugees.
These rations were given to contraband and white citizens in occupied areas during the war. For the most
part it was a discouraged practice because it was felt that people would become dependent on the
rations. This was especially true in the Port Royal area where it was possible for freedmen to grow their
own food. Still this effort faced constant disruption as the Army requisitioned fresh food as a suppliment
to the rations that the soldiers were given.

2.  The next section of the report deals with social conditions. Freedmen were without employment,
homes, subsistence and moving to larger cities. Some who had followed the army were in camps or
deserted farms.

3. President Johnson used a Congressional recess to put in place his Reconstruction plan. By executive
order he pardoned ex-confederate leaders and restored property. This return of property was a severe
disruption to the Port Royal area where land had been distributed to the freedmen.

Andrew Johnson - (December 29, 1808 – July 31, 1875) Born in Raleigh, North Carolina
Andrew Johnson grew up in poverty. His father, a porter in an local inn, died when Johnson was only
three years old. He and his brother were apprenticed to a tailor as a boy.  Johnson taught himself to
read. Two years after beginning his apprenticeship, Johnson and his friends threw rocks at a tradesman's
house out of mischief. Johnson left town and abandoned his apprentice work at the tailor shop of John J.
Selby. Johnson fled to Carthage, North Carolina sixty miles from Raleigh. He then  moved to Laurens,
South Carolina to distance himself further from the trouble in Raleigh. Johnson led his mother, brother,
and stepfather to Tennessee in 1826.

He opened a tailor shop in Greeneville, Tennessee.  Johnson was elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives and won four elections to retain his seat until 1853. In the U.S. House, Johnson
supported President Polk and his handling of the Texas and Oregon settlements and the Mexican War.  
Johnson was a supporter of the Constitution over state's rights. Johnson won the 1853 Tennessee
gubernatorial election and re-election in 1855. As Governor he worked to create a public school system
and a state library. In 1857, Johnson was elected to the U.S. Senate.

During the secession crisis, Johnson remained in the Senate even when Tennessee seceded, which made
him a hero in the North and a traitor in the eyes of most Southerners. In 1862 President Lincoln
appointed him Military Governor of Tennessee, and Johnson used the state as a laboratory for

Johnson became president upon Abraham Lincoln's death on April 15, 1865. Johnson's presidency,
began the reunification for a country suffering from four years of civil war. Under Johnson's administration
the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery and the 14th Amendment providing for equal protection by law
of all citizens were added to the Constitution. Johnson's presidency saw the addition of Nebraska to the
United States and the purchase of the Alaska territory. He was the first president to have major
legislation passed over his veto (16) In 1868, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President
Andrew Johnson for dismissing his Secretary of War Stanton against the order of the Tenure of Office
Act which had passed in 1867. He became the first president to be impeached while in office. His trial
fell one short of conviction in the Senate. He failed to receive his party's nomination in 1869.

Johnson tried to reenter the U. S. House and Senate. In 1875, Tennessee returned Johnson to the
Senate. He died a few months later from cholera.

5. For example of a difficult social problem see
Marriage Rules to gain some understanding of sorting out
the difficulties of the marital status of the new freedmen

Index Terms: President Johnson, Ex. Doc. 19, 39th Congress, 1st Session, Port Royal, rations, District
of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Orleans, Mississippi river
President Andrew Johnson
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
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