Washington City, December 29, 1864.
The Adjutant-General was instructed yesterday to give you authority to raise the regiments proposed, and I suppose it was received before your message got here.
EDWIN. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
BEAUFORT, S. C., December 30, 1864.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to report my doings for the current year, under the special instructions of June 16, 1862, from the War Department:
The lands in the possession of our forces having been sold by auction, under the direction of the direct-tax commissioners, have passed into the hands of private persons or are under the control of the U. S. direct-tax commissioners. My jurisdiction and responsibility concerning them having ceased, I have no agricultural operations to report. My official action under those instructions has been limited to the establishment and enforcement, as far as it was in my power, of regulations for the sanitary condition and police of the department, and for the protection of the freedmen in their industry and its products.
I have also established civil courts of justice, boards of referees, and military commissions for the settlement of all matters at issue between residents of this department not in the military service.
Many of the freedmen had by industry and thrift acquired considerable property.
To provide for the contingency of their dying without providing for its disposition, I appointed a board of trustees in each general superintendency to take charge of such property and administer it for the benefit of the legal heirs.
The details of their organization are stated in Circular Numbers 3, herewith appended.*
In order to protect the freedmen against oppression, or fraudulent treatment by employers who might be disposed to take advantage of their ignorance of affairs and comparative helplessness, as well as for a general measure of security and us dealing between employers and employed, I directed that all persons employing the freedmen in agriculture should make written contracts with them, signed by both parties, and witnessed by the superintendents, stating clearly and precisely the terms and conditions.
The contracts were subject to my approval.
These regulations were published February 10, 1864, in Circular Numbers 3, hereunto appended.*
To protect the freedmen from being defrauded by sharpers, ever ready to prey upon their simplicity, and chiefly to induce in them habits of carefulness and prudence, I established August 27, 1864, the South Carolina Savings Bank at Beaufort. All sums deposited in this bank are to be invested in interest-bearing bonds of the United States.