In connection with this regular payment of wages, and also with the suggestion heretofore made, that the refugees acknowledging wives and children should be legally married, the Commission recommend a system of allotment, under which each married laborer or soldier shall be required at the time his pay is received to cede a part of it, proportioned to the size of his family, for their support in all cases where that family is left dependent on the Government. In cases where the freedman shall have provided a home and support for his own family, the amount to be allotted can properly be a metter of recommendation only; yet such recommendation will probably in almost all cases be as effectual as a positive requisition.
As the basis of a system of organization of freedmen, a first step, without which all subsequent steps will be attended with uncertainty and embarrassment, the Commission recommend a strict and comprehensive system of registration, to take effect as each refugee enters our lines. This should include not only a description of the person so as to insure identification if possible throughout life, but also all the facts bearing upon his legal claim to freedom. It should be stated to each, at the time he gives in his name, that he must not alter it hereafter, as slaves, when changing owners, are in the habit of doing. He should be made to understand that aliases are not permitted among freemen.
The specific forms of allotment and registration recommended will be found in instructions to be given to the departmnts, which, if this report meet the sanction of the Department, the Commission will immediately prepare.
The Commission believe it to be another important feature, in a plan of organization for the care of refugees, that such organization should be substantially separate from and (except when military exigencies intervene) independent of the ordinary military administration of the Army, it being understood, however, s on first entering our lines come in charge of the provost-marshal, who turns them over to the proper superintendent, and that every superintendent shall be required to meet to the full extent of his ability all requisitions made upon him by the proper authorities for military laborers, payments or other supplies to refugees not in military service to be directly through the department superintendents, who should be required to give bond as army paymasters do, and whose reports should be made directly to the superintendent-general of freedmen.
The Commission, specially desirous to propose no scheme which might endanger a conflict of authorities, have taken pains to submit this feature of their plan to generals commanding departments whenever they have had opportunity - as to General Schenck at Baltimore; to General Dix at Fortress Monroe; to General Viele at Norfolk; to General Peck at Suffolk; to General Hunter at Hilton Head, and to General Saxton at Beaufort. Each of these officers, when such a separation was suggested, approved it in unqualified terms, usually adding that it would be the greatest relief to themselves to be freed from all care and responsibility in regard to refugees. One of these officers remarked that he had rarely found military abilities and the special qualifications needed to superintend freedmen united in the same person, especially in subalterns.
SECTION VI. - Details of organization proposed.
The Commission suggest a plan of provisional organization for the improvement, protection, and employment of refugee freedmen,