Freedmen's Bureau Records: J. H. Remington to
Orlando Brown, June 18, 1866
Remington files his quarterly report about conditions in the 6th District. Regarding Augusta County, he comments on the low wages earned by black laborers, the inability to receive justice in the civil courts, the progress being made in registering married couples and the flourishing condition of the schools. He also comments on George Cook's abilities as Agent.
Bureau Refugees, Freedmen & A.
Head Quarters, Sixth District, Va. Bvt. Brig. Genl. O. Brown
June 18th 1866
I have the honor to inform you that I have completed the inspection required by letter of Instruction No. 3 Bu.R.F.&A.L. HdQrs Asst. Comr. State of Va, Richmond June 7th 1866, and would respectfully submit the following report.
Sub District "A", comprises the Counties of Alleghany and Bath, Capt. Chas Wolff V.R.C. Asst. Supt. with Office at Covington, Alleghany Co.
Capt. Wolff, the pioneer officer of the Bureau at Covington, has been on duty there about two months. The amount of business transacted by him is small, the sub district containing comparatively few freedpeople. No records have been kept except the record of cases tried, and the file of letters received. Upon the several subjects of inquiry specified in the letter of instruction I am able to state as follows:
1st The General condition of the Freedmen is good
2d There is a likelihood that they will
obtain justice from the Civil Courts although no cases have yet been tried to test the question
3d The records of marriages has been commenced and will probably be completed during the coming month, a certificate of marriage is given in each case. Each of the four paragraphs of Circular No. 11 are being carried out.
4t No freedpeople are at present chargeable in these Counties for support. The authorities intend to support such as may become chargeable, but have not as yet assessed the tax for the year 1866.
5t The supply of labor is about equal to the demand
6t There are no schools for the freedmen in this sub district on account of the scattered condition of the population
Captain Wolff is an officer of judgement and though not possessed of a very thorough acquaintance with office duty, seems well qualified to manage the affairs of the freedmen in this sub district.
Sub District B comprises the counties of Augusta, Highland and Rockingham, Lt.
Geo. T. Cook, Asst. Supt. with office at Staunton, Augusta County. This is a large
and important sub District. The freed population though large in
the aggregate is small when compared with the Whites, there being about one (1) black to four (4) Whites. The office records are in good condition.
1st The condition of the freedmen is fair. They are generally at work, but in many cases for very small wages, barely enough to keep them from starving.
2d There is no likelihood that they will get full and complete justice before the civil tribunals in the majority of cases, even with the assistance of the Bureau in bringing their complaints to justice, and without such aid, justice would be impossible.
3d About 700 couples have been registered as married under the Virginia Statutes, and the registry is still going on at the rate of 30 or 40 couples per day. Certificates of marriage are given. Each of the 4 paragraphs of Circular No. 11 have been or are being carried out.
4t The authorities express an intention to take care of the poor, but their means are slight at present, and will be so until next year.
5t The supply of labor is about equal to the demand with a prospect of better wages next year, rates $8 to $10 per month and board, and in some cases much less
6t The schools are very flourishing, and
there is a great demand for more. The negroes seem very eager to go to school.
Lieut. Cook has been in charge of this sub district about one month, and has been successful in his conduct of affairs. He is well acquainted with office duty, is zealous for the welfare of the freedmen, and attention to his duties.
Sub-district C, comprises the Counties of Shenandoah and Page. Lt. J.T.H. Hall V.R.C. Asst. Supt. with office at Woodstock, Shenandoah Co. The feeling towards the freedmen, and towards the Bureau in this sub-district is quite better. The records of the office of the Asst. Supt. are in a fair condition.
1st The condition fo the freedmen is fair.
2d No cases in which the freedmen are concerned have been tried before the Civil Courts, the freedmen showing a great disinclination to bring their cases before tribunals from which the state of feeling in the community renders it hardly probable that full and impartial justice would be meted out to them.
3d The record of marriages has been commenced in proper form, and certificates of
marriages are given
The 4 paragraphs of Circular No. 11 are being carried out.
4t The authorities intend to provide for the indigent freedmen, but their means are at present very inadequate. The poor house buildings were [unclear: burned] during the war, and have not yet been rebuilt.
5t The supply of labor is equal to the demand, and the able bodied freedmen are generally at work.
6t There is one school in the sub district at Massanutten which is thriving. There is a demand for schools at Woodstock, New Market, Mount Jackson and other points in the sub district.
Lieut. Hall considering the many annoyances to which he is subjected arising from the strong feeling of hostility to the Bureau in this Sub district has conducted affairs with a good degree of energy and success, and seems to show a determination to do for the benefit of the freedmen whatever is in his power.
Sub-District D comprises the counties of Frederick and Clarke Capt. Gilbert R. Chandler V.R.C.
Asst. Supt. with office at
Winchester, Frederick Co. This is an important sub
district and contains quite a large colored population. The only records kept
thus far, are the
records of trials before the Freedmen's Court, the record of letters sent, the file of letters received, and the account of rations issued.
1st The general condition of the freedpeople is good, they are industrious and working for fair wages.
2d The likelihood that they will as a general rule get full and impartial justice in the Civil Courts is very slight. In several cases the authorities have refused to take notice of apparently just complaints.
3d The register of marriages is commenced. Certificates are given. The four paragraphs of Circular No. 11 have been well carried out.
4t The authorities express an intention to provide for the indigent freedpeople but have no means at present for so doing.
5t The supply of labor is less than the demand
6 The Schools are well attended and in fair condition. There is a demand for a school at Berryville, Clarke Co.
The general condition of the freedmen's affairs in this sub district is very good. Capt. Chandler is an officer of great energy and well fitted for the position. The amount of business being large, the lack of a clerk has been a cause of considerable embarrassment and delay in its transaction.
. . . .
. . . The moral influence of the mere presence of the Agents of the Bureau is in itself a great protection to the freedmen. In many instances threats have been reported as coming from white persons, that if the Bureau should be withdrawn, the freedmen would be made to suffer for the firm stand they have taken to secure their rights under the protection of the Government.
I am happy to state that the most unreasonable hostility against the negro schools is perceptibly diminishing. Besides the old prejudice against the eduction of the negro, the hostility was increased in some localities by a misunderstanding amongst the whites as to the manner in which the schools were supported, many laboring under the impression that the teachers were paid by the Government. The eagerness of the freedpeople to attend School is wonderful, and in most cases the scholars are making creditable and in some cases very remarkable progress in their studies.
The foregoing report being respectfully submitted, I have the honor to remain
Your most Obedient Servt
J. H. Remington
Capt. & Bt. Maj. V.R.C.
Supt. 6th Dist Va.