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Declarations of DependenceThe Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908$
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Gregory Downs

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834442

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877760_downs

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Vulnerable at the Circumference Demobilization and the Limitations of the Freedmen's Bureau

Vulnerable at the Circumference Demobilization and the Limitations of the Freedmen's Bureau

Chapter:
(p.75) 3 Vulnerable at the Circumference Demobilization and the Limitations of the Freedmen's Bureau
Source:
Declarations of Dependence
Author(s):

Gregory P. Downs

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807877760_downs.6

This chapter describes how the face of government changed in North Carolina as Freedmen's Bureau agents opened offices across the state. Working with the Union's state military commander, the provisional governor, and the remaining Union soldiers, these officials were the front line of a piecemeal, tentative, and poorly planned occupation of the South. Like many others, North Carolina Freedmen's Bureau director Eliphalet Whittlesey encountered scenes of “much confusion” upon his June 1865 arrival in Raleigh as displaced whites and blacks clustered around bureau offices for food, and everyone watched for portents of the social order that would replace slavery. As Whittlesey and others like him worked to create order, they found themselves up against the most intransigent and influential problem of postwar Reconstruction, a basic lack of manpower.

Keywords:   government, North Carolina, Freedmen's Bureau, state military commander, provisional governor, Union soldiers

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