Freedmen's Bureau Records: W. Storer How to Orlando
Brown, October 5, 1865
How recounts his organization of his sub-district, and gives a general evaluation of the condition of former slaves, including their developing relations with whites.
Bu. R. F.
& A. L.
Sixth Dist Va Col. O. Brown
Oct 5t 1865
I have the honor to report that this District is now organized and officered as follows:
Sub. dist "A" comprises the counties of Rockbridge, Botetourt, Alleghany & Bath; Lt. C.J. Tubbs 58 Pa Vols Asst. Supt., Office at Lexington, Rockbridge Co. Va.
Sub. District "B" comprises the counties of Augusta & Highland, Mr. F. S. Tukey Asst. Supt., Office at Staunton, Auga Co Va.
Sub. Dist. "C" comprises the counties of Rockingham, Shenandoah & Page. Lt. D.A. Smith, 193 N.Y.V. Asst. Supt., Office at Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co Va.
Sub. Dist. "D" comprises the counties of Frederick, Clarke and Warren; Mr. J. H. McKenzie, Asst. Supt., Office at Winchester, Frederick Co. Va.
Sub. Dist. "E" comprises the counties of Jefferson & Berkely; Lt. John Olmstead 193d N.Y.V. Asst. Supt., Office at Harpers Ferry, Jefferson Co. Va.
I have had personal interviews with the several officers commd'g the [unclear: military] districts and sub-districts
embracing the counties assigned to me, and received assurances of their
assistance and co-operation in the promotion of the objects of this Bureau, and
arrangements have been made for the distribution of troops
in the best manner their limited numbers would allow, for the support and protection of the Asst. Superintendents.
The Freedmen are generally at work, and for able bodied men, the demand exceeds the supple. Women with 3 or more little children find it difficult to obtain employment and there is no authorized system of apprenticeship by which such children might be permanently provided for, and the mother disincumbered, be able to support herself. Cases of this kind are comparitively infrequent, but difficult to meet when they occur, because there are no vacant habitations accessible in this District and the cases are distributed on a [unclear: territory] which from its extent and difficient communications render relief establishments impracticable.
There will be numbers of infirm and helpless freedmen, besides some among them who were called "free negroes" for whose support some local provision must be made, and I again respectfully suggest that the local authorities, as overseers of the Poor may be made to take care of them -- as they best can for the inhabitants will then have a personal interest in the matter and permit the use of vacant cabins, which they would now rather burn than have them occupied under the auspices of the "Freedmens Bureau" --.
The Freedmen are rapidly becoming familiar with and accustomed to their new
relations to the whites, and give encouraging evidence that with facilities for
education, and unobstructed entrance into fields of labor and business
they will soon cease to be regarded as an incubus upon the state or as subjects for the tutelage and guardianship of everybody, particularly those whom they already surpass in patriotism.
I am Colonel
W. Storer How
Capt & AQM
Supt. 6th Dist Va.