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The Freedmen's Bureau

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands...
...often referred to as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of March 3, 1865. The Bureau supervised all relief and educational activities relating to refugees and freedmen, including issuing rations, clothing and medicine. The Bureau also assumed custody of confiscated lands or property in the former Confederate States, border states, District of Columbia, and Indian Territory. The bureau records were created or maintained by bureau headquarters, the assistant commissioners and the state superintendents of education and included personnel records and a variety of standard reports concerning bureau programs and conditions in the states.


Freedmen and Southern Society Project
No event in American history matches the drama of emancipation. More than a century later, it continues to stir the deepest emotions, and properly so. In the United States, emancipation accompanied the defeat of the world's most powerful slaveholding class and freed a larger number of slaves than did the end of slavery in all other New World societies combined. Clothed in the rhetoric of biblical prophecy and national destiny and born of a bloody civil war, it accomplished a profound social revolution.

The Freedmen and Southern Society Project was established in 1976 to capture the essence of that revolution by depicting the drama of emancipation in the words of the participants: liberated slaves and defeated slaveholders, soldiers and civilians, common folk and the elite, Northerners and Southerners.

Freedmen's Bureau Marriages, Fort Smith Arkansas

Freedmen's Bureau Marriage Register, Gibson County, Tennessee

The Freedmen's Bureau by W. E. B. DuBois

Freedmen's Bureau Records at the Africana Archives
As part of our ongoing effort to provide you with new and unpublished records that document slaves, freedpersons and their descendants, we have begun to transcribe microfilmed Freedmen's Bureau records from the National Archives. We will continue to add records to our database, and this page, as our work continues.

Freedmen's Bureau Reports - Hernando County, Florida
This part of the Freedmen's Bureau page is dedicated to those reports I was able to find. I have transcribed these reports as to provide very specific details as to life in our county during the Reconstruction Period after the Civil War. I have put these reports in chronological order so that a timeline of events may be established. These are personal correspondence between our local Freedmen's Bureau agents and state level agents.

The Valley of the Shadow Freedmen's Bureau Records
The Valley of the Shadow is a digital archive of primary sources that document the lives of people in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, during the era of the American Civil War. Here you may explore thousands of original documents that allow you to see what life was like during the Civil War for the men and women of Augusta and Franklin.