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Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands orders

 Collection — Box: BW 41, Folder: ViU-2020-0064-001
Identifier: MSS 16726

Content Description

This collection contains four items from the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands in Virginia. It consists of three written and signed orders and one printed circular detailing the rudimentary justice system to be established (September 27, 1865).

Two of the orders are addressed to Lieutenant Thomas W. Goring (1840-1926) of New Hamburg, New York who was serving as the assistant superintendent in the Freedman Bureau (both dated October 10, 1865). One order, sent from Marion, Virginia, relates to Election Day and orders troops to be removed from the vicinity of the polling places, unless necessary to preserve the peace. It also specifies that no alcohol may be sold on Election Day.

One order involves making requisitions for all public buildings as soon as possible to be used as school houses, quarters for freedmen, etc. (September 14)


  • Creation: 1865 September-October

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection.

Biographical / Historical

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, which later was known simply as the Freedmen's Bureau, was established by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865, as a temporary agency under the authority of the War Department. The purpose was to help millions of former black enslaved individuals and poor whites in the South following the turmoil of the Civil War, by providing food, housing, and medical aid, schools and legal assistance. The programs of the Bureau were hampered by lack of funding and personnel, racial politics, lack of precedents for dealing with large groups of refugees, the opposition of President Andrew Jackson, and Reconstruction. The commissioner appointed in May 1865 was Oliver Otis Howard, a Union general from Maine.


0.04 Cubic Feet (1 legal folder.)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

These items were purchased by the Small Special Collections Library from Swann Auction Gallery, on September 4, 2020.

Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands orders
Sharon Defibaugh
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States