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[361] where it was possible to find them, or be dropped from their returns.

All this served as a sufficient warning, we thought, to all parties concerned. But I found that the freedmen's hospitals at New Orleans, Vicksburg, Louisville, Richmond, and Washington could not be abolished so soon without exposing the numerous helpless patients therein to great distress. The local authorities refused to assume charge, so that pressed by an extreme necessity, with the assent of the Secretary of War, I continued them for a while, and reported my action to Congress. All my action, by an Act approved April 7, 1869, was formally approved by that body. Congress instructed me then to discontinue these hospitals as soon as practicable in the discretion of the President of the United States. General Grant, after March 4th, was the President, so that no unkind action was feared. His discretion and mine naturally agreed. No immediate troubles worth the record followed the discontinuance of the Bureau. The officers paying bounties had to be kept, and nearly all the school machinery remained intact, and the military arm, with General Grant for President and General Sherman for army commander, was still garrisoning the entire Southern field. Thus my trying work and responsibility appeared happily diminished. All disbursements were henceforth to be made from the Washington headquarters.

The entire work of the preceding four years was summarized by me October 20, 1869, to wit:

One year ago there were on duty in this Bureau one hundred and forty-one (141) commissioned officers, four hundred and twelve (412) civilian agents, and three hundred and forty-eight (348) clerks. At

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