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[220] supervision of abandoned lands and the control of subjects relating to refugees and freedmen within their districts. All agents, however appointed, i.e., by military officers. Treasury Department or voluntary societies, must report to these assistant commissioners the condition of their work. Refugees and freedmen not provided for should let them know of their wants. All applications for relief by district and post commanders should be referred to them or their agents. President Johnson had covered, with district and post commanders and troops, the same ground previously covered by my officials.

I added, “It is not the intention of the Government that the Bureau shall supersede the various benevolent organizations in the work of administering relief. This must still be afforded by the benevolence of the people through their voluntary societies, no government appropriations having been made for this purpose.”

The assistant commissioners were then required to look to the benevolent associations laboring in their respective districts for much of the relief of these destitute people. A statement was solicited from the active societies, giving names of officers, workers, and, as far as was practicable, details of their undertakings. I stated that the demands for labor were sufficient to afford employment to most able-bodied refugees and freedmen; that assistant commissioners were to introduce a practical system of compensated labor. First, they must endeavor to remove prejudices from late masters who are unwilling to employ their former servants; second, work to correct false impressions sometimes entertained by the freedmen that they can live without labor; third, strive to overcome a singular

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