Broadside by the Freedmen's Bureau Assistant Superintendent at Shreveport, Louisiana

printed broadside warning ex-slaves to contract

NOTICE TO FREEDMEN, 16 Dec. 1865, enclosed in Capt. L. Horrigan to Capt A. F. Hayden, 31 Dec. 1865, Unregistered Letters Received, series 1304, LA Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. Captain Horrigan issued the notice only four days after he had first arrived in Shreveport and one day after he relieved the previous Freedmen's Bureau agent. “On assuming the duties of this office I found a great many freedmen in this place without employment,” he explained in the covering letter of December 31 by which he forwarded this copy of the notice. “[M]any of them had been driven from plantations during the month of December 1865 by planters to avoid final settelment with them: more especialy in cases when the freedmen were unwilling to engage their labor to their old employers for the ensuing year.” In response to the notice, “nearly all of the unemployed freedmen reported at this office,” he wrote, where “they were all advised of the fact that they should seek employment at once and thereby escape the vagrant laws of the state of Louisiana.” Although they had with few exceptions proceeded to “[make] arrangements for employment for the ensuing year,” he noted that “the most of them for some reason unknown to me preferred to wait until the first of January . . . before they signed the contracts for their servics.”

Published in Land and Labor, 1865, pp. 968–69.