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[332] districts through which the country would be governed until the people of any State should adopt a constitution framed by a convention elected by male citizens without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, but still disfranchising participants in the rebellion. The new constitutions must grant suffrage to negroes and be submitted to Congress for approval. Civil governments where they existed were allowed to continue till the new were established.

The districts were then organized with General Schofield in command of Virginia; General Sickles for North and South Carolina; General George H. Thomas for Georgia, Florida, and Alabama; General Ord for Mississippi and Arkansas, and General Sheridan for Louisiana and Texas. All these officers, as will appear, who were commanders of individual States, became ez-officio my assistant commissioners. Coincident with the Bureau work, the work of reconstruction along the lines of the new law now began and went on. In each State the assistant commissioner was at the head of the Bureau work with at least an adjutant, a disbursing officer, a medical officer, and a superintendent of schools as his staff in Bureau matters.

Each State was divided into military districts whose commanders were the Bureau agents in matters pertaining to the freedmen, and under them were the subdistricts where the subagent, usually without troops present, procured the necessary supplies for the extremely destitute, adjusted labor matters, encouraged negro education and counteracted the effect of unjust, prejudiced juries, and the action of some local courts, which arrested and in many instances practically reenslaved

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George H. Thomas (1)
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