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 till Baird's arrival. Louisiana showed for the year 62,528 acres of abandoned land under cultivation by freedmen and 501 pieces had been given back to owners; thus restoration went on. In New Orleans alone there was $800,000 worth. The large number of estates abandoned and supposed to be confiscated in Louisiana, which were turned over to us by the Treasury Department, had happily afforded means of raising considerable revenue, indeed, more than any other State. This revenue was now greatly diminished and soon would be extinguished by our being so obliged to give up possession. There were now in Louisiana four large “home colonies,” where were supported great numbers of the aged and infirm. But these were not fully self-supporting; still, there were good farms connected with each, faithfully worked by freedmen. The Mississippi assistant commissioner, Colonel Thomas, for 1865, had worked enough farms to raise a sufficient revenue for Bureau purposes within that State. From every part of Mississippi he showed that freedmen desired to have homes of their own; that they were willing enough to work places which they held by rent, or which they felt were secured to them for their use. The freedmen working land assigned them at Davis Bend, De Soto Point, and at Washington near Natchez, had labored hard and did well. At least 10,000 bales of cotton were raised by these colonists. They had gardens and corn enough to furnish food for themselves and for their stock for the year. Thomas wrote: “A more industrious, energetic body of citizens does not exist than can be seen now at the colonies.” In other parts of Mississippi, Thomas found fine
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