General Orders No. 46: Schofield’s rules for the government of freedmen

As we stop thinking about sesquicentennials of the Civil War and begin inquiring, quite naturally, about the Reconstruction period that followed, one of the threads which I hope to see more attention focused is the role the military played at that time.  As I’ve mentioned before, I think there is a significant (and overlooked) “militaryContinue reading “General Orders No. 46: Schofield’s rules for the government of freedmen”

April 21, 1865: “… making fair contracts in writing with the people to cultivate the land…” in South Carolina

On April 21, 1865, there were several matters competing for Major-General Quincy Gillmore’s attention. The day before Gillmore received word of Major-General William T. Sherman’s truce with General Joseph E. Johnston, which thus governed operations in the Department of the South.  Also arriving was news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  The former prompted adjustments to Gillmore’sContinue reading “April 21, 1865: “… making fair contracts in writing with the people to cultivate the land…” in South Carolina”

“No man should be a neutral in this great emergency”: What to do with discharged contrabands?

By mid-1864, a large population of former slaves, or contrabands to use the term applied at the time, existed at several places in the southern states behind Federal lines.  In particular the Department of the South had significant contraband “cities” around Port Royal Sound.  On one hand, these represented propaganda points for the north –Continue reading ““No man should be a neutral in this great emergency”: What to do with discharged contrabands?”