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[225] it became evident that a competent man of considerable experience was immediately needed to take this care and worry off my shoulders. Before acting I paid a visit to General Grant, then having his office in a building on the southwest corner of Seventeenth and F Streets opposite the old Navy Department, and carefully laid the subject before him. The general said at once: “Bring Colonel John Eaton from Mississippi here. He's your man.” Gladly I did that. Accordingly, the District of Columbia, parts of Virginia and Maryland and West Virginia were made Colonel Eaton's subdivision. It was treated like a State with an assistant commissioner in charge. Colonel Eaton was its first assistant commissioner. By his coming I had the advantage of his long experience with the freedmen of the Mississippi Valley where he had so much aided General Grant during the active war.

For some months before the insurrectionary States were reorganized by Andrew Johnson, our Freedmen's Bureau officers in them afforded almost the only authorized government in civil affairs, and so, as one may imagine, the correspondence became more and more voluminous. My instructions were usually given in letters; they were upon all conceivable subjects, yet the most important and pressing were to rehabilitate labor, to establish the actual freedom of the late slave, to secure his testimony in the local courts where they were opened by the whites as they were here and there, to bring the freedmen justice in settling past contracts and in making new ones, and to give every facility to the Northern societies for their school work, also to raise from rents of abandoned property sufficient revenue to pay the running expenses. Happily, till appropriations came, the War Department, taking

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