War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0120 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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You will consider them as applying to all lands in your district which are now, or may be hereafter, owned by the United States, except such as are or may be set apart for military, naval, school, or revenue purposes, and the plantations on Saint Helena Island, known as Lands End, and the Ben Chaplin Place, and the city of Beaufort, on Port Royal Island.

All previous instructions or parts thereof which conflict with those now given are hereby rescinded.

Yours, respectfully,



1. You will allow any loyal person of twenty-one years of age or upward, who has at any time since the occupation by the national forces resided for six months or now resides upon or is engaged in cultivating any lands in your district owned by the United States, to enter the same for pre-emption to the extent of one, or, at the option of the pre-emptor, two tracts of twenty acres each, paying therefor @1.25 per acre. You will give preference in all cases to heads of families and to married women whose husbands are engaged in the service of the United States, or are necessarily absent.

2. You will permit each soldier, sailor, or marine actually engaged in the service of the United States, or any who may have been or hereafter shall be honorably discharged, to pre-empt and purchase in person or by authorized agent, at the rate of @1.25 per acre, one tract of twenty acres of land if single, and if married two tracts of twenty acres each, in addition to the amount a head of family or married woman, in the absence of her husband, is allowed to pre-empt and purchase under the general privilege to loyal persons.

3. Each pre-emptor on filing his claim and receiving his certificate of pre-emption must pay in U. S. notes two-fifths of the price, and the residue on receiving a deed for the parcels of land pre-empted, and a failure to make complete payment on receipt of the deed will forfeit all rights under the pre-emption as well as all partial payments for the land.

4. When persons authorized to purchase by pre-emption desire to enter upon and cultivate lands not yet surveyed they may do so, but they will be required to conform in their selection as nearly as possible to the probable lines of the surveys, and to take and occupy them subject to correction of title and occupation by actual surveys when made.

5. In making surveys such reservation for paths and roadways will be made as will allow easy and convenient access to the several subdivisions entered for sale and occupancy by pre-emption or otherwise.

Approved December 31, 1863.


These instructions, it will be seen apply to all soldiers as well as citizens. The superintendents and teachers in this department are hereby directed to give their entire attention to the carrying out of these instructions, and to assist the people to the extent of their power in locating, staking out their claims, and securing their title deeds under this order of the President, which, in its beneficent results, is to be second only to the proclamation of emancipation. I also recommend the people to lose no time in pre-empting their claims and in preparing their grounds for the coming harvest. The foundation of all national wealth and prosperity is in the soil. No people can be truly prosperous who neglect its cultivation.

Freedmen, you should plow deep, plant carefully and in season, cultivate diligently, and you will reap abundant harvests. First provide for an ample supply of corn and vegetables, then remember that cotton is the great staple here. I advise you to plant all you can of it. So profitable was its culture in the old days of slavery that your former masters said: "Cotton is king." It is expected that you will show in a free South the cotton is more of a king than ever.


Brigadier-General and Military Governor.