Maryland Black Apprentice to the Freedmen's Bureau Superintendent at Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C.  April 22d 1867

Colonel:  I respectfully make the following statement and request that such action may be taken by you in the premises as shall be deemed just.

About three years ago while at Mason's Island I was indentured or bound out by the person in charge there–Dr Nicholls I think–to James Suit living in Prince George County Md about 4 miles from Bladensburgh–who promised me to clothe me, feed and educate me, in compensation for services rendered by me to him–

Mr Suit has been kind to me generally but neither clothed me decently nor sent me to school   Once–yes several times I have been whipped by Mr Suit without justification and by Mrs S. also–  one time I was struck by her with a shovel–injuring my head very much because I could not fix a pot on a cook stove as she desired.

I have been so tired of not receiving any compensation for my services–no clothing, no chance for school–nothing but whippings that I determined to leave Mr Suit and arrived in this city yesterday–

Please don't let Mr Suit take me back for I have a mother and father (named Sylva and Abraham Holmes) who would care for me if they knew where I was.  I think they are in this city.  Respectfully Yours

Carter X Holmes

Carter Holmes to Lieut. Col. Wm. M. Beebe, 22 Apr. 1867, #1716 1867, Letters Received, series 456, District of Columbia Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. Witnessed. Beneath Holmes's mark are the words “freed-boy–aged 12 years.” According to an endorsement, the Freedmen's Bureau superintendent sent Holmes to “the Orphan's Home” in Washington.

Published in The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South, pp. 346–47.