Kentucky Freedman to the Secretary of War

Shelbyville Kentucky  May the 14 1866

Application of the Colored People of Shellyville To Secretary Stanton Washington D.C.

Secretary we as a people ask for our wright–  we acknowledge that we are Free But where is it That we are not be aloud to enter in to Publice Business Here in Shellyville.  the Colored People is not aloud to enter any Publice House such as a Bar Room or Coffee House with out permission from the Doctor which we chose for Physisioner,  we wish to know whether we must return to our former onors and work for $12 and $13 per month or what we must do   we have men here in Shellyville is well calcullated to asstablice some But Public House   you that their are a great may Travelars a moung the Colored People and many have not Homes and wishis Board   well where are they To Board   the white People wont Tak them in and so they are often Thrown out of doors

we are not aloud to open know Grocery know Coffee House know kind and if we wont sperrits for sickness make know odds how Bilous the case we cannot get it   if you call this Freedom what do you call Slavery   I hop that we have some Friend in the capital   the soldiers have Been in the army and are now mustered out and come Back home and thery cannot enter any Business whatever But have to return to their old master and work for whatever they chosse or see proper to gave them   some get $10 dollars some $12 dollars some $13   whom can live that way   Please send some word to our relievf   there is know Colored People in Shellyville that is Idol But all are engage at something   the Colored School is progressing very well and the Children are learning considerable   very respectfully your obedient servant a Colored Citizen of Shellyville Kentuky

Henry Mars

Henry Mars to Secretary Stanton, 14 May 1866, M-240 1866, Letters Received, series 15, Washington Headquarters, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. File notations indicate that the letter was received at the War Department on May 21 and immediately forwarded to the headquarters of the Freedmen's Bureau. No reply to Mars has been found in the letters-sent volumes of that office. Mars had served in the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry, mustering out in March 1866 as sergeant major of the regiment. (Service record of Henry Mars, 5th USCC, Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations: Civil War, series 519, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94, National Archives.)

Published in Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 668–69.