Headquarters District of South Eastern Virginia, Circular No. 6
African Americans Freedmen's Bureau, labor
The Freedmen's Bureau also had responsibility for administering land (plantations) that white Southerners abandoned, although in Virginia that did not often happen. Nevertheless, many freedpeople believed that the property of their former owners would be confiscated and that each former slave would receive forty acres and a mule to enable them to become independent farmers. This notice that General Alfred H. Terry issued in November, 1865, was meant to counteract a belief that at the end of the year the Freedmen's Bureau would begin distributing free land to the freedpeople. Officers "will endeavor to meet and converse with those of the Freedmen who possess the greatest influence of their fellows" to correct the misunderstanding.
Alfred H. Terry
Norfolk County Court Correspondence with the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1866, Local Government Records Collection, Norfolk County Court Records, Library of Virginia.
November 9, 1865
Library of Virginia
Norfolk County; Southeastern Virginia