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[185] The cotton was to be collected by Treasury agents and the freedmen benefited.

During the summer of 1864, Wi. Pitt Fessenden, who had replaced Mr. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury, inaugurated a new plan for the freedmen and the abandoned lands. He appointed and located supervising special agents of his Department in different portions of the South which were now free from Confederate troops. These agents had charge of the freedmen. Each was to form here and there settlements on abandoned estates, each denominated a “Freedman's home Colony,” and situated in his own district, and he must appoint a supervisor for such colonies as he should establish. A number of such colonies were formed. The supervisor provided buildings, obtained work animals and implements of husbandry and other essential supplies; he kept a book of record, which mentioned the former owner of the land, the name, age, residence, and trade or occupation of each colonist; all births, deaths, and marriages; the coming and going of each employee, and other like data. These agents and supervisors were sometimes taken under military control by the local commander, and sometimes operated independently.

Under this plan the freed people were classified for fixed wages varying from $10 to $25 per month, according to the class, and whether male or female. There was a complete and detailed system of employment. Food and clothing were guaranteed at cost, and all parties concerned were put under written contracts. For a time in some places this system worked fairly well. It was a stepping-stone to independence. The working people usually had in the supervisors and treasury agents friendly counselors; and when

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Pitt Fessenden (1)
Salmon P. Chase (1)
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