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[230] wild land in the South, which might have answered; but undoubtedly the land intended by the law makers was that of those Confederates who had been in arms against the National Government.

Such use, however, of even the small amount which was turned over to the Freedmen's Bureau, was nullified by the President's pardon, granted to those who had abandoned the lands in order to engage in the war; orders of restoration to all such immediately followed the presentation of the executive pardon; this was very soon after I had obtained the control of Bureau matters.

Major William Fowler, who had served most creditably in the One Hundred and Forty-sixth New York Volunteers and later as an assistant adjutant general in the army, was the first officer assigned to the charge of my Land Division. A lawyer by profession, he proved eminently qualified for all matters pertaining to Government lands, however acquired. Fowler's first official answer to my inquiries affords a brief statement of what real property was under control of the Bureau and how it came there. He said that the Act of Congress, approved March 3, 1865, which established the Bureau, intrusted it with the supervision and management of all abandoned lands, i. e., lands taken by the Government while their lawful owner was voluntarily absent from them, engaged in arms, or otherwise in aiding or encouraging the war waged against the United States. Again, that on June 2d the President had ordered all officers of the Government having property of the character specified to turn it over to the Bureau. In compliance with this order, the Secretary of the Treasury on June 27th had issued a circular letter directing his subordinates

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