Proceedings of a Meeting of Virginia Freedpeople

Dec 12. 18.65  Middlesex Co. Va

at A Large and enthusastic mass meeti[ng] of Colod. People of this Co. Held in a privet House to tak in considerrathion what we thought best to do.  we was with[out] Pertection.  we was yet. a Press by our formor o pressors.  no one to Show Justis   after. wich Mr James. W. daniel Call the meeting to order.  Mr. J. H. Laws chosen Secratary of meeting to tak. the preseedens of the meeting on this Night

we has serv this year   we has close our Cropes   the oners has conseel them in ther Proseathion has desid to turn us off with nothing   also has desid if we will not Bound our selves to them by the year the ensuing year the will not let us stay on the lands.

We Resolved that we desid to foured the A. count of the meeting to the Judge of freedmen Baureau in the City of Washington to ask you most respectfull. honour to send us som protection to giv to us that witch is right and Just befor God and the citizen world

Resolv that we arr willing to liv on what ever reterms the united State call for   we nomber over. 12 to 15 hundrd Populthion in this Co   There is from. 7 to 8.00. are members of Church in Good Standard Good faith and order   we do ask our frendes in the baurau to Send us. A. marshal to demand what is be longe to us.  most spectfull you honore to Comply with our request Presen

this meeting was conductted by 5. respectfull members of the Church

Resoluthion Proved and A Dobt by this Body of People in this Sead Co. of Va.  Sine on behalf of this meeting

James W. daniel chair man
J. H. Laws Secratary

Jacob dabny. James Bai[m?]ia  [E]lle[x] man[m]

Also. 2 orther Countyes Essex Co. & Kingenqueen co the adjoining Co. to middle orthorrise me to inform our frendes in the Baurau of the Sufferment of them   the is with out any Pertection   expect a good meny of will be turnd out of hose and homes as the winter is now Coald   we has no one to look but God and our frends in the Baurau to help us in our Strouge

most respectfull you O Bedon Servent in thes Sead County of Vig   the people of thes 2 co. inpowerd Mr J. H. Laws to hand in our Sufferement to the Judge of freedmen Baurau   he was inpowerd   Anny Peterson.  Carter [petr]   Hairy Brokenbeary of Essex Co

Proceedings of a mass meeting of freedpeople, 12 Dec. 1865, filed as L-76 1865, Letters Received, series 15, Washington Headquarters, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. Received on December 19 at the headquarters of the Freedmen's Bureau commissioner, the proceedings were referred to Colonel Orlando Brown, the bureau's assistant commissioner for Virginia, “for investigation & report”; an endorsement instructed him to “please send a Bureau representative into this county to inquire into the subjects of complaint as set forth in this communication–” By an endorsement of December 20, Colonel Brown referred the proceedings to the superintendent of Virginia's 4th district, who on December 22 directed a subordinate at Fredericksburg to “immediately send an officer to Middlesex, Essex and King & Queen Counties, with instructions to examine into the within Complaints, to look after the interests of the Freedmen in those Counties, and to secure them from all injustice and oppression; and forward report of action with this paper to this office.” Yet another endorsement sent the papers on to Lieutenant Charles H. Scott, the bureau's assistant superintendent at Tappahannock (in Essex County), and on December 30 he returned them with the following endorsement: “I have the honor to State that I have investigated the within complaint and find thare was no officer Stationed in Middlesex County at the time the complaint was made. All difficulties have been adjusted and are being adjusted as fast as they arise.” Subsequent endorsements sent the proceedings back up the chain of command to Colonel Brown, who on January 9, 1866, returned them to the commissioner with a comment of his own: “It is impossible with our present limited number of officers, to Keep one in each Sub. District– The interests of the freedmen unquestionably demand this.”

Published in Land and Labor, 1865, pp. 774–75.