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[357] Bureau we had settled over 40,000 cases and turned over but a few as yet unsettled to the Secretary of War. It was not too much to affirm that through the labors and vigilance of the officers and agents of the Bureau, enough had been saved to the Government and to deserving claimants to justify all the expense involved.

By the autumn of 1867 there was food generally throughout the South, and the district commanders, in connection with their military commands and the work of political reconstruction, were still acting for me as assistant commissioners.

During this and the next year it was constantly asserted by opponents and by the press in some parts of the country that I was opposed to closing out the Bureau work. This statement was untrue. I did wish to close out all other parts as rapidly as possible and have the educational work continued as long as necessary. At the end of 1868 I wrote this to the Secretary of War: “Many entreaties have come to me from Southern men, white and colored, and from several commissioners, to urge upon Congress the continuance of the operations of this Bureau beyond the time of its limit by law (January 1, 1869). But after having carefully considered the whole subject, I believe it is better not to do so.”

It was extremely difficult to induce the cities and counties to assume the charge of the indigent, and they would not do so while the general Government furnished assistance, so I added: “Much suffering will doubtless result from the complete withdrawal of the Bureau during the coming winter in Virginia and Mississippi unless some provision (for the poor) be made by the district commanders. I therefore recommend ”

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