“Objects of Humanity”: the White Poor In Civil War and Reconstruction Georgia - Fordham Scholarship Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Great Task Remaining Before UsReconstruction as America's Continuing Civil War$

Paul A. Cimbala and Randall M. Miller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823232024

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823232024.001.0001

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“Objects of Humanity”: the White Poor In Civil War and Reconstruction Georgia

“Objects of Humanity”: the White Poor In Civil War and Reconstruction Georgia

(p.101) 6 “Objects of Humanity”: the White Poor In Civil War and Reconstruction Georgia
The Great Task Remaining Before Us

Denise E. Wright

Fordham University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines welfare in Georgia, focusing on the continuity of benevolence, albeit of a different sort. In Georgia, poor whites benefited from large aid programs originating first from the Confederate state, then from the Freedmen's Bureau, and finally from charitable associations headquartered in the North.

Keywords:   George, welfare, Civil War, benevolence, Confederate state

October 31, 1865, Nancy Estes, a white woman from Cobb County, Georgia, just northwest of Atlanta, wrote to President Andrew Johnson requesting food and money. Describing her family's desperate conditions, she claimed to be a longtime Unionist who “drank a cup of Uncle Abraham's coffee” with the Union soldiers who had come to her home. Estes claimed that the “secesh” people would not help her—the president was her only hope. On November 30, a local agent of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Freedmen's Bureau) investigated Estes's claim. He determined that Estes and her family, who still resided in the family home, were not “objects of humanity,” and forwarded a copy of his findings to Georgia's assistant commissioner. The Estes family received no aid from the Freedmen's Bureau. The letter raises compelling questions about the white poor in the Confederacy and the evolution of charitable aid programs during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The Estes family was not alone in its desperation or appeal for assistance.1

Despite numerous historical and sociological studies of the South's white poor during the Civil War and Reconstruction, the lives of the Estes family and thousands of other Georgians who survived those desperate times remain somewhat mysterious. But there is a common thread that can shed some light on this population: access to aid in varied forms. During the war, Georgia implemented massive aid programs that provided cash, food (primarily in the form of corn), salt, and the materials necessary for the home production of cotton cloth. Immediately after the war, the newly established Freedmen's Bureau provided rations, clothing, and transportation. That aid was supplemented by donations from Northern charitable associations, many of them organized specifically to assist starving Southerners. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided seeds for crops. One can hardly expect this population, largely illiterate and living in the midst of a catastrophic war and ongoing drought, to have left behind the diaries and letters that have contributed so greatly to illustrating the story of the Southern white aristocracy. But the histories of these aid programs, and the rare surviving evidence of white Georgians' (p.102) interactions with them, provide a better understanding of the privations and challenges poor white Southerners faced during this turbulent period. By examining the relationships between the aid organizations, and the influences they had upon one another, we can establish connections between Civil War and Reconstruction in Georgia and throughout the South.2

The historiography of Southern welfare in this era often focuses almost exclusively on the Freedmen's Bureau, the most well-known Reconstruction welfare agency, and its aid to former slaves. That focus is understandable. But in 1970 John Hope Franklin published an article in The Social Service Review that offered a compelling way to understand the Bureau's history through an examination of the origins of Southern welfare policy. Franklin clearly established the connections between wartime and Reconstruction aid, especially aid provided by the Freedmen's Bureau. He found that wartime relief was the first welfare policy for most Southern states. He determined that state legislatures had realized the need to provide some aid to soldiers' widows and families. They moved quickly to do so, partially motivated by the necessity of avoiding the threat to social order that might occur if the “rich man's war, poor man's fight” cliché came too close to describing reality for the white poor. Poor relief, available to whites only, would maintain the race-based social order. Highlighting the significant percentage of Freedmen's Bureau rations that were issued to whites, Franklin concluded that the initial phase of Reconstruction—the period of so-called Radical Reconstruction—was not so radical after all. Confederate state and local welfare policy had established a precedent; when it came to providing material aid to the poor, the Freedmen's Bureau continued a practice already in place. Franklin placed the Bureau within the context of wartime welfare programs.3

Elna C. Green's 2003 study of welfare in Richmond, Virginia, This Business of Relief: Confronting Poverty in a Southern City, 1740–1940, provided an example of new directions in American welfare history. In chapters 46, she details the changing focus of poor relief in the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the early New South period. State aid, the Freedmen's Bureau, and Northern charitable associations all play significant roles in the story, and the white and black poor receive equal attention. Though Green is careful to point out that her study of a Southern city has limited applications to the rural South, her focus on relief as the central thread of the story brings all the aspects of welfare, and its evolution in Richmond, to center stage. The goal of the current study is to combine Franklin's and Green's approaches and place the Freedmen's Bureau in Georgia within the larger context of state and federal welfare both during and after the Civil War. By doing so, Georgia's white poor necessarily become a larger part (p.103) of the story, offering a new vantage point from which to examine the evolution of welfare in Georgia. The story begins during the war.4

Before the war, Georgia had “virtually no role in education, welfare, health, or police and regulatory functions.” But as the war progressed, the state's role in providing aid to its white citizens changed radically. Several factors contributed to a growing number of white Georgians who desperately needed assistance. The April 1862 Confederate conscription law took farmers from their fields, and food shortages became a growing concern throughout the South. As Emory Thomas stated in The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience, “The fact was that Southern agriculture failed the Confederacy. Not only did the great staple crops decline in value and production, but the wartime South proved unable to feed herself.” Georgia was no exception; by late 1863 the state faced the additional problems of an ongoing drought, an early frost, and numerous skirmishes within its borders. In 1863 and 1864, the Georgia legislature approved corn appropriation acts, totaling $1,890,000, to provide food for destitute white Georgians.5

These were not the state's only appropriations for aid. The legislature also set aside more than $1 million to procure and distribute salt, which was necessary for preserving food, tanning leather, dyeing fabric, and for horses and livestock. It was provided without charge to the indigent, at reduced rates to soldiers' families, and at controlled prices to those who could afford it. Though not exclusively a welfare measure, the system of salt distribution was put in place primarily because of the suffering of Georgia's soldiers' families. Home production of cloth also was important in Georgia, as it was throughout the Confederacy, for making clothing and blankets, both for soldiers and those at home. Georgia had cotton in abundance, but to process it into useable thread, people needed cotton cards—wire brushes with wooden backings and handles. As existing supplies dwindled and cards in use wore out, shortages developed. In three separate appropriations beginning in 1862, the legislature approved a total expenditure of $1.3 million to produce or purchase cotton cards.6

But by far the largest welfare expenditure in Georgia during the war was for the state's “support of indigent soldier's families,” referred to as the Indigent Soldier's Families Fund. The earliest precedents for this program are found in late 1861. Georgia's governor, Joseph E. Brown, believed it necessary for those who could most afford it to assist people in need. In November 1861, in his annual message to the legislature, this idea took shape in a suggestion that planters and others in possession of cotton (which could not be easily sold because of the blockade) who would warehouse the cotton and insure it, would be eligible to receive from the state an advance, in treasury notes, of two-thirds of its market value. Those with a crop to sell could thereby access much-needed (p.104) funds, especially to pay state and Confederate taxes. Though the legislature took this suggestion in a different direction, this first step toward “relief for the people” is startlingly conservative compared with later efforts.7

By the opening of the 1862 legislative session, Brown's proposed relief measures were more specifically aimed at relieving soldiers' families. Some counties had adequate resources to assist their indigent, but others did not. Brown argued that the state should offer its resources in the form of an appropriation for “a bounty of one hundred dollars” to soldiers' families whose property values were less than one thousand dollars. The “bounty” would be funded by the “whole net proceeds of the Western & Atlantic Railroad for the ensuing year.” He also suggested that every soldier be exempt from the poll tax and from paying any taxes on their first one thousand dollars of taxable property.8 The legislature implemented these measures on December 13, 1862, and also appropriated $2.5 million to be distributed by each county's inferior court justices to indigent soldiers' families. The act was amended the following April because of reports that some justices were not issuing funds unless those eligible were “utterly penniless and beggared.” The amendment directed them to use their discretion to “assist all indigent and needy families.”9 By November 5, 1863, Brown called for an appropriation of $5 million to aid soldiers' families, and was careful to point out that he was not suggesting “supporting them in idleness.” On December 12, the legislature passed a bill requiring the counties' ordinaries to turn over any surplus educational funds to the inferior courts to be added to the funds for indigent soldiers' families.10

By the end of the 1863 session, the legislature responded to Brown's urging and appropriated $6 million for indigent soldiers and their families, including widows, orphans, and families with soldiers in active service as well as disabled soldiers and their families. The governor was authorized to borrow money or issue state bonds if necessary to fund the appropriation.11 The language of the appropriation bill is exact, and is an indication of the increasingly detailed and sophisticated legislative approach to public welfare in the state. For the first time, “indigent” was defined to include “Wives, Mothers, Grandmothers, and all those who have to leave their ordinary business in the house, and to labor in the field to support themselves and children, and who are not able to make a sufficient support for themselves and families.” Soldiers who were “detailed for the purpose of working in workshops, and transacting other business, for which they are drawing [m]echanics wages” were specifically excluded from the appropriation. Additionally, inferior court judges or their representatives could offer partial relief to those who were not “actually indigent,” provided they did not take supplies from those who required them. Families of “substitutes” in the army were to be considered the same as other soldiers' families.12

(p.105) The distribution process was also more complex than in earlier appropriations. Funds for the appropriation would come from the “ ‘income tax act,’ assented to April 18th, 1863.” The original tax law directed that the funds would be distributed among Georgia's counties on the basis of “representative population.” This new act superseded it and required the inferior courts in each county to “make out a schedule of persons within their respective counties, who may be entitled to … benefits.” The list of those “entitled” was specific and extensive. Beneficiaries included widows whose husbands had been killed in service or who had died as a result of wounds or illness resulting from their service; disabled or ill soldiers, as well as their wives, who resided within the county; the wives or dependent mothers or other relatives of soldiers in service; and children under twelve who were dependent on soldiers, including orphans. Inferior court officers were allowed discretion in distribution as long as the method was “efficient.” There was no mention of dependent slaves. Harking back to Brown's assurances that no one who could support themselves would benefit, the county representatives were instructed to “make diligent enquiries” into each potential beneficiary's status. To ensure diligence, any agent who was found guilty of misappropriating funds would be sentenced to two to seven years in the state penitentiary. County grand juries were instructed to “make diligent enquiry” into the actions of the county's representatives. Only Georgia's “deserving” poor were eligible for aid.13

The quarterly distributions could take the form of cash, or “articles of prime necessity” in lieu of cash. Considering rising inflation and scarcity, goods were probably more valuable than cash. But distribution to counties that were occupied by Union forces would, of course, be difficult. Recognizing that the citizens in those counties often were the most desperate, the legislature directed Brown to retain an “appropriate” percentage of the fund for distribution in those counties as soon as practicable. The law also anticipated the potential problems posed by “refugeeing” as citizens of one county moved to another. In such cases, those leaving could collect their allotted amount at their current address and apply for a certificate from the court representative. That certificate could then be taken to the court representative in their next county of residence. One can only imagine the difficulty of this procedure in the midst of war, but the fact that there was such a procedure indicates how common “refugeeing” had become.14

The difficulties of fulfilling this plan are noted in Georgia Comptroller General Peterson Thweatt's October 1864 report. The deadline for submitting county estimates of the number of recipients was February 1, 1864; however, by that date “not one-third of the counties” had done so. It was not until late (p.106) March that “a sufficient number had made returns to authorize an apportionment” from Thweatt's office. Three counties in far northwestern Georgia had made no returns by October because of the Union Army occupation. Total state expenditures for the fiscal year 1863–64 were $13,288,435. Of that, despite the challenges of receiving reports and collecting income taxes, Thweatt's offices disbursed $4,481,305 from the Indigent Soldiers' Families Fund in fiscal year 1863–64, one-third of the state's expenditures. Combined with expenditures for salt, cotton cards, and corn, which totaled $6,730,533, the state spent a staggering 50.6 percent of its appropriated funds on direct welfare measures. Other welfare-related expenditures included Educational Fund payments of $135,844, which were turned over to the counties to use at their discretion; Small Pox Fund payments of $64,580, which paid physicians and purchased supplies to stem outbreaks of the disease; payments in the amount of $15,000 to support the state academy for the blind; payments of $111,990 to support the state lunatic asylum; a $15,000 payment from the Military Fund for “Location and Subsistence of Atlanta Exiles” who were living in the Fosterville settlement in Terrell County; and the annual payment of $500,000 to the Georgia Relief and Hospital Association, which helped fund hospitals in and out of the state to meet the needs of Georgia's soldiers. Altogether, direct and indirect welfare support totaled $7,587,947, or 57.1 percent of the state's total expenditures that year.15

Georgia's welfare spending was slated to continue at a similar level for the fiscal year 1864–65. In fact, the legislature increased the appropriation for the Indigent Soldiers' Families Fund to $8 million. But Lee's surrender in April 1865 ended most disbursements in late April or early May.16

It is important to note that though these wartime aid programs were never specifically identified as for whites only, the implication throughout the debates and the language of the bills that established Georgia's programs is clear: They were established to assist white soldiers' families. When Comptroller General Thweatt made his report to the provisional governor only months after the end of the war, he argued that much of the state's debt was incurred to feed and clothe Georgia's soldiers and to take care of their families, who had been left “dependent upon the maternal care of the state.” There was no mention of any slaves those families might own. The soldiers' families could look to the state for “care,” but the slaves had to continue to look to their masters. There is no doubt that Georgia's black population benefited from the state's wartime programs, but they are significantly absent from welfare debates and legislation.17

Throughout the war, county inferior court judges administered the state's relief programs. After the war, this system continued as Georgia faced wartime (p.107) destruction and the ongoing drought. On March 13, 1866, the Georgia General Assembly appropriated $200,000 to purchase corn for soldiers' widows and orphans, as well as “wounded or disabled soldiers” and “such aged or infirm white persons as must suffer without aid, on account of their destitution and inability to work for a living.” The justices of the inferior courts were ordered, within a month of notification, to report the number of such persons in their counties. The governor would then appoint a purchasing agent, and the justices would appoint county agents, to procure and distribute the aid. In December 1866, the General Assembly appropriated an additional $100,000 with the same restrictions, but with the added proviso “that no part of the same shall be expended until the Governor shall become satisfied that a sufficiency of corn will not be contributed from voluntary sources.”18

But there also were two significant changes in welfare programs serving Georgia. The first was the arrival of the Freedmen's Bureau, whose mission was to aid both black and white Georgians. The second was the formation of numerous private charitable organizations in the North, those “voluntary sources” noted in the December 1866 Georgia legislation, whose sole aim was to provide material aid, most without regard to race, to the devastated South.

The Freedmen's Bureau had been established in March 1865, and subsequent legislation in February 1866 clarified the Bureau's mandate and expanded its administration. But from the beginning, the Freedmen's Bureau did not exist only to support former slaves. The white poor also benefited from the Bureau's programs, and this aspect of its operations is important. The Bureau's responsibilities regarding poor whites was made clear in a statement by Congressman Thomas Dawes Eliot, Republican from Massachusetts, during debate over the 1866 Freedmen's Bureau bill. Eliot had shepherded the original bill through the House, and when confronted with the question of exactly who would have access to Bureau aid, he simply stated that “the refugees have all the rights under this bill that the freedmen have and have been cared for from the beginning by the Commissioner and the assistant commissioners under him, wherever that care has been called for.” In defining “refugee,” Eliot stated that he interpreted it to mean “white” in a situation where one was discussing “freedmen” and “refugees.” The individual states of the former Confederacy had established welfare policies and programs during the war; by providing assistance to the South's white poor, the Freedmen's Bureau continued an established practice. But the Bureau simultaneously established radical new policy when it offered aid to former slaves and continued established practice when it assisted the white poor whose lives had been disrupted by war. The connections between state wartime aid programs and the Bureau are often-overlooked aspects of Bureau history.19

(p.108) In the early months of Reconstruction, one of the Freedmen's Bureau's most basic methods of addressing Southern destitution was issuing rations. From June 1865 until November 1868, the Bureau issued approximately 20.3 million rations in thirteen states and the District of Columbia—26 percent of those rations were distributed to white refugees. But this simple statistic does not explain the diversity of ration programs within each assistant commissioner's jurisdiction. There was great variation in the number of rations issued in each state, as well as in the percentage of rations distributed to freedpeople and white refugees. Virginia distributed the greatest number of rations of any state (4,257,178). But less than 5 percent of those rations (203,478) were distributed to white refugees. In stark contrast, Alabama, which distributed the second greatest number of rations (4,219,579.5), issued 65 percent of its rations (2,727,406) to whites.20 An attempt to explain the variations between states is beyond the scope of this work, but an examination of the details of Georgia's ration program reveals how one state implemented a policy that was, at best, fluid.

The Georgia Freedmen's Bureau distributed 1,476,579.5 rations from August 1865 to October 1868, fifth most of all the states. Only Alabama, Arkansas, and South Carolina distributed a greater number of rations to whites than Georgia. White refugees received 285,933.5 of Georgia's rations (or 19 percent, which also ranks fifth). However, the full implication of Georgia's ration program is not found in its rankings but in the detailed monthly reports the assistant commissioners forwarded to Bureau headquarters. Unfortunately, the extant reports do not span the entire period from June 1865 to November 1868. There are, however, consecutive reports from December 1865 until December 1867, which provide a large enough sample to identify areas in which white refugees received rations.21

During the war, the forty-five counties composing the upcountry and mountain regions, and the home counties of the population centers of Savannah, Augusta, Columbus, and Macon, received 52 percent of the aid distributed in fiscal years 1863–64 to 1864–65. Though Cherokee County, Governor Brown's home county, received the largest portion of any county, it was followed by Savannah's Chatham County, Columbus's Muscogee County, Macon's Bibb County, and Augusta's Richmond County. After the war, Freedmen's Bureau ration distribution followed much the same pattern, with one notable exception: Fulton County, home of Atlanta, replaced Cherokee County as the top recipient. This would support the conclusion that the county's large wartime welfare program had been at least partially attributable to Brown's influence. Atlanta's ascendance on the list of postwar aid recipients is likely explained by an influx of refugees, especially after Sherman's army moved (p.109) through northwestern Georgia. As a growing transportation hub and the city nearest those areas devastated by Sherman's March, Atlanta was a logical destination for destitute people of all races. After Fulton, the counties that received the next largest numbers of rations were, in order, Macon's Bibb County, Augusta's Richmond County, Savannah's Chatham County, and Columbus' Muscogee County. Georgia's major cities continued to function as primary aid distribution centers.22

But did early Reconstruction ration distribution follow other patterns established during the war? Yes, as proven by a regional comparison of wartime aid and postwar ration distribution. During the war, a significant portion of Georgia's wartime welfare was distributed to the northern portion of the state—the seventeen counties designated “mountains” and the twenty-four “upcountry” counties—areas that, according to the 1860 census, were majority white. This was not surprising during the war, as whites were the sole intended recipients of wartime aid. What is surprising is that the Freedmen's Bureau's ration distribution followed the same pattern. Though only nine of the seventeen mountain counties and nineteen of the twenty-four upcountry counties were listed as ration distribution stations from 1865 to 1867, the Bureau distributed 574,597.5 rations in those areas—56 percent of Georgia's total rations. This area includes, of course, Atlanta's Fulton County, the top distribution station, but that does not alter the fact that more than half of the Bureau's rations were distributed in 28 of Georgia's 130 counties, and that those counties, without exception, had black populations of less than 42 percent according to the 1860 Census.23

Though the 1860 Census provides an understanding of the location of Georgia's slave population, its obvious limitation is its static nature. It cannot provide information on the movement of populations during the war or in the first years of Reconstruction. It cannot tell us if the percentages of black and white populations remained the same in Georgia's counties. But the Freedmen's Bureau's monthly ration reports can shed some light. Since these reports designate the numbers of rations distributed to “freedmen” and “refugees” at every station in the state, the percentages issued to each group identify the areas in which whites, or “refugees,” received the most rations.

Not surprisingly, the mountains, the area with the largest 1860 white population, led the way in refugee ration distribution. Of 152,940 rations issued in nine mountain counties, 101,254 (66 percent) went to whites. In the nineteen upcountry counties that had ration distribution centers, 33 percent of the 421,657.5 rations issued went to whites. The percentage of rations distributed to whites dropped precipitously in the ten eastern Black Belt counties, where only 7 percent of the 287,016.5 rations went to whites. The pattern continued in the three (of six) counties in the coastal region that included ration distribution (p.110) stations, where only 2.5 percent of the 103,630 rations went to whites. Only four of the nineteen counties that composed the western Black Belt had ration distribution centers, but less than 1 percent of the 54,154 rations went to whites. The nineteen counties of the Pine Barrens-Wiregrass region had no ration distribution stations. Though Georgia's population was undoubtedly shifting during the war and after, the racial composition of the different geographical regions of the state did not change significantly. As evidenced by the Bureau's ration reports, in the early years of Reconstruction large white populations were still found in the mountains and upcountry counties while large black populations continued in the eastern and western Black Belts and the coastal region.24

The statistics found in the ration reports also confirm that Georgia's Freedmen's Bureau agents, on average, appear to have implemented the Bureau's mandate to assist both blacks and whites. In areas with large white populations, a large percentage of rations were distributed to whites; in areas with large black populations, a large percentage of rations were distributed to blacks. The inclusion of whites in the Bureau's mandate to assist the South's poor was not peripheral; it was clearly part of its mission as described by the second Freedmen's Bureau bill. But the Bureau also was coordinating the distribution of private assistance, often through the very offices of the inferior court judges who had overseen wartime relief. That aspect of its operations was not so clearly defined in any legislation. It evolved from necessity as the demands of the South's poor overwhelmed the Bureau's resources.25

The Freedmen's Bureau worked closely with private charitable organizations, primarily based in the North, who solicited funds and donations to aid the South. It was through these organizations that the white poor and freedpeople found access to even greater amounts of aid. Private charitable aid was distributed by a variety of people, including Freedmen's Bureau agents, the ubiquitous county inferior court judges, and local ministers. The Freedmen's Bureau commissioner, General Oliver Otis Howard, played a role in facilitating the fundraising and distribution activities of private charities. An examination of one such agency further clarifies the role of the Bureau in assisting poor whites and freedpeople at a time when the question of assisting white Southerners who had not been loyal to the Union was being debated in Congress and in the nation's newspapers.

One of the earliest public charities founded to assist the South was the New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association (NYLSRA), created in December 1866. A pamphlet by Anne Middleton Holmes, published in 1926 by the Mary Mildred Sullivan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), provides detailed information from the association's founding until its final report in November 1867. The information found in the pamphlet is invaluable to (p.111) understanding the workings of the association, the needs of Southerners who wrote requesting relief, and the motivations of the women and men who served the association.26

The NYLSRA's founder, Mary Mildred Hammond Sullivan, and her husband, Algernon Sydney Sullivan, were prominent in New York society and had numerous ties to the South. He was born in Indiana, moved to New York, and became a celebrated attorney and philanthropist with political connections. She was a Virginia native who, in addition to founding the NYLSRA, also founded the UDC chapter in New York. During the war, Mrs. Sullivan had, with government permission, traveled to Virginia and gained first-hand knowledge of Southern devastation after the war. Her Southern sympathies were well known. Mr. Sullivan was the first president of the New York Southern Society, an organization he founded to meet the needs of New York's expatriate Southerners. With such ties to the South and the Confederacy, and a reputation for philanthropy, the Sullivans' interest in postwar Southern charity is not surprising. According to Holmes's pamphlet, Mrs. Sullivan was “familiar to hundreds of southerners … because of her work with the Confederate prisoners during the war.” This reputation led to an influx of mail having “the proportions of an avalanche.” Her response to these calls for assistance was to found the NYLSRA, and she served as secretary throughout its yearlong existence.27

The association's entire slate of officers, executive committee, and managers were women, with one exception: Arthur Leary, who served as treasurer. There were many notable names on the roster, including Mrs. J. I. Roosevelt, president, and executive committee members Mrs. J. C. Frémont, Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, Mrs. G. Ticknor Curtis, Mrs. Egbert Viele, and Mrs. E. W. Stoughton. The list of managers includes such surnames as Van Buren and Vanderbilt. In roughly eleven months, these women raised more than $71,000 in cash, and the association's Brooklyn auxiliary raised more than $12,000 in cash. Additionally, they collected donated goods and “fifty boxes of new and second-hand clothing.” All were sent South via a carefully orchestrated disbursement system.28

The NYLSRA chose to distribute its aid via “well-known clergymen in the destitute districts at the South.” Arthur Leary's importance as treasurer is apparent in the association's system of cash distribution. The procedure was “for the Treasurer of the Association to draw his checks on his bank in New York for an amount designated by the Disbursing Committee, payable in the name of, and only to the order of, the clergyman who was to distribute the funds, and these checks were sent by mail to the persons named therein.” The first checks were issued on January 31, 1867, and regular disbursements continued until November 1. A total of $60,634.52 reached the Southern clergy in cash, (p.112) while roughly $7,000 was used to purchase provisions for distribution and another $3,500 went to miscellaneous expenses.29

The association's “Statement of money distributed, with the names and residences of the Clergymen through whom the distribution was made” is as detailed as the name implies and provides an excellent basis for analysis. A chronological list, it includes the name, location, and monetary amount sent to every clergyman. The total sent to Georgia clergy was $11,633.91, or 19 percent of the total cash contribution. The largest single payment was $866.66 to Reverend C. H. Coley of Savannah on April 5, 1867. The smallest payments were $25 each. More than fifty percent of the money sent to Georgia went to clergymen in the major population centers of Savannah, Atlanta, and Augusta. Savannah's portion was by far the largest at $4,126.66, while Atlanta received $1,400 and Augusta received $1,320.00. This is not surprising, as major cities were established aid disbursement locations and were located along transportation routes.30

When examined by region, the coast received the largest amount of cash ($4,226.66), but the majority of this went to Savannah. The eastern Black Belt received the second largest ($4,065.00), which included the cities of Augusta and Macon. The upcountry counties, which included the city of Atlanta, received $1,042.25. The western Black Belt and the mountain regions both received $450.00 each, which is a surprisingly small amount considering that the city of Columbus is in the western Black Belt and the destitution of the mountain counties had been publicized even before the war was over. The cash distributions of the NYLSRA deviated from wartime state and Reconstruction Freedmen's Bureau aid patterns. It did not focus its relief efforts on the mountain and upcountry counties, though it did continue to distribute aid through most of the state's major population centers, with the exception of Columbus.31

It appears, however, that despite some variation in distribution patterns, the NYLSRA interacted with the Freedmen's Bureau to some degree. On December 8, 1866, General A. McL. Crawford, subassistant commissioner for the Bureau in Charleston, wrote to Mr. E. W. Ayers, who had apparently requested information about the state of affairs there. Crawford's reply was that there were “large numbers of Ladies and children in an utterly destitute condition … [who] belong[ed] to the upper classes of society.” Their social position led them to feel “great repugnance to making their wants known.” Therefore, the general took it upon himself to ask for aid. He requested “supplies of any kind,” but specifically requested “dresses, underskirts, stockings, flannels, shawls, in fact any and all articles the ladies can spare, and children's clothing, shoes too, even if partially worn.” He asked that the boxes be shipped directly to him. This request for private charity on behalf of formerly wealthy—and (p.113) at least some presumably Confederate—white women and children provides evidence that some Bureau officers did not restrict themselves to assisting “loyal” refugees and freedpeople.32

Most of the forty-eight letters (eight from Georgia) contained in Holmes's pamphlet, however, are from individuals who wrote either to request assistance or thank the association for their aid, and they provide more clues to understanding aid distribution in Georgia in 1867. Two of the Georgia letters came from Mrs. Bachman, a self-described “poor farmer's wife” in Tilton, Whitfield County, in April 1867. The first, dated April 18, is a request for aid for destitute people in Whitfield and Gordon Counties, both in the northwest mountain region on the Tennessee border. She stated that she had “been requested by several persons to apply to your society for aid for the suffering.” In describing conditions in the counties, she explained that

where shall we get bread, is the constant cry. All are willing to work but there is no money. Provisions are not in the county, & if it had not been for the Bureau, “and that in our section did not give any bread,” and a little corn from charitable persons in Kentucky, many would have died from starvation ere this. Some poor women have to walk 30 or 40 miles with their infants, some barefoot, to try to get rations, when alas! They have to return faint and weary as they were too late!—all was issued … North Georgia is a scene of much suffering, it having been occupied so long by both armies, and the crops proving a failure the past two seasons.

She also offered the names of two men who would be willing to distribute any aid, and three others who would vouch for her statements. Only four days later, on April 22, Mrs. Bachman sent an additional letter because

since that time others have called on me and begged me to state to your society that this was a class that had not received any aid from any source and without help, many would be obliged to abandon their crops for the want of corn to feed the stock necessary to carry on the work. Many have to depend entirely on grazing, and that the spontaneous growth of the earth, as but few here have yet paid any attention to grasses etc.

She also noted that yet a third county, Murray, was “in as deplorable a condition as the ones [previously] mentioned.” She closed the letter by stating that she was “not a person of much notoriety—a plain farmer's wife—but you probably have noticed the reports of Gov. Jenkins and Gen'l Howard, & therefore will not doubt the truth of what I have written.” Her final words were a (p.114) simple plea: “Please answer.” According to the distribution records in Holmes's pamphlet, her requests were ineffective. No cash was sent to a representative in any of the three counties Bachman described in her letters, though it is possible that a more distant representative may have answered her pleas.33

A very different letter described the plight of Mrs. Joseph Huger, originally of Savannah, who had relocated to Athens during the war. No farmer's wife, Mrs. Huger is described as coming from “one of the oldest families of South Carolina.” A description of her family's circumstances was included from M. G. Harison, who made a plea for aid to the association on Mrs. Huger's behalf. Her description of destitution was much different than Mrs. Bachman's. The Huger's property had been worth $200,000 before the war, but she explained that attempting to farm with hired labor had only “created debts, which, increasing at interest, we can perhaps never pay.” Her husband was “re-studying the profession of medicine,” while two of her four grown sons were employed but “receive only small salaries.” One son had given them money, but illness had taken much of it. She noted that “at this moment I do not own $5.00” and that “several times [they had] not had a cent in the house, nor a week's provisions.” Her health and four small children prevented her from finding work. One daughter gave dancing lessons and “took in work,” and friends had assisted them in times of great need. Additionally, two of her daughters had “been furnished education by the Society of Baltimore.” It is not known if the association agreed with Mr. Harison that this family was deserving of aid, but a $100 donation was sent care of Reverend W. H. Henderson in Athens on October 15, though the recipient is not noted.34

The other letters from Georgia were not written to request aid, but to acknowledge receipt of donations. M. D. Woode, the minister of a Presbyterian church in Decatur, Dekalb County, wrote to thank the association for a $100 disbursement he received in April 1867. Though the list of recipients is not included, Woode stated that all were “respectable ladies, formerly in independent circumstances & themselves generous to the poor and suffering.” He also described conditions in the area. “Our people are suffering for even bread in numerous instances. I know of cases,—aged men and women, most respectable people, who know not today where their trembling hands will find tomorrow what they may eat; widows and orphans who are needy, indeed, living off the line of the railroad & unable to come to town for supplies from the hand of charity.” Assuring the association that the “benefaction and succour” of the association was “most gratefully received,” he closed by stating that “the blessing of those ready to perish is coming upon you.”35

In a similar letter, J. H. George of La Grange wrote on May 23 offering two examples of the people he had assisted with the association's $100 donation. He (p.115) “made a contribution to a widow with six children, of $10. who said she never thought to eating meat, that being too great a luxury: she was thankful to get bread once a day. She is trying to support her family by making baskets.” Although he did not divulge the amount he gave another widow, he described her family of nine as “all depending upon the exertions of herself and married daughter.” And, in the only disclosure of its kind in any of the letters, he noted that “I am among the sufferers, having lost everything, being obliged to take my furniture to buy bread for my family, consisting of eleven children only one of which is old enough to provide for herself. I must avail myself of your kind offer and retain fifty for the use of my family.” It is worth noting that no additional funds were sent to Mr. George.36

Letters from Augusta and Macon provide even more distribution detail. J. H. Cuthbert wrote on May 27 that he had received $100 on April 9 and distributed it as follows:

  • A single woman (cripple): $5.00
  • Poor widow, husband killed in war: 2.50
  • Family from N. Carolina for bread: 5.00
  • Old widow lady: 2.50
  • To woman whose only son crushed to death by car: 10.00
  • Family half starved: 5.00
  • Widow whose sons were killed in war: 2.50
  • Poor old colored man: 1.00
  • Colored woman with large family: 5.00
  • Family of women and children, son helpless by illness: 7.00
  • Women and children (9) very poor: 5.00
  • Ministers of different denominations in the neighborhood, among the poor: 15.00
  • Left with minister in Columbus who said that within sound of his bell were a thousand at least, who did not know where their bread was to come from tomorrow: 20.00
  • Poor woman, single, confined to her room: 5.00
  • Invalid destitute woman: 2.50
  • Old woman, very poor: 2.50

E. W. Warren reported a similarly detailed distribution of $100 in Macon on July 20, and noted that “the pressing necessity for contributions from abroad for the poor is rapidly passing away. A gracious Providence has blest us with most fruitful seasons, and the present prospect now gives earnest of a very good provision crop.” His distribution actually listed most recipients by name. All (p.116) were women, and they received between $.50 and $13.50 each. He also noted that he gave 30 cents to “poor child in bread,” and $3.80 was expended for “provisions for poor children.” Additionally, he sent $5.00 to “poor widows and orphans” in Rome and $15.00 to “poor widows and orphans” in Marietta.37

Despite the clues they offer, the letters sent to the NYLSRA also complicate our understanding of aid distribution in Georgia. The letter from Augusta notes that funds sent there were actually distributed in Columbus, on the opposite side of the state. The letter from Macon, in central Georgia, discloses that some of the funds there went to Rome and Marietta, both in the northern part of the state. And apparently some requests for aid were unanswered for unknown reasons, though there is the suggestion that the NYLSRA preferred assisting “ladies” of “good families.” Of course the NYLSRA was not the only organization of its type. Though organized slightly later, the Southern Famine Relief Commission, founded by prominent men in New York, provided even more aid than the ladies' organization, and there are scattered references in both organizations' records to similar organizations based in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

A letter published in the March 12, 1867 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Union likely spurred what would become a very public debate over the role of such organizations, and especially the gender of their members. Signed by “Inkgall of Andersonville,” the author rejects all charitable aid to the South and refers to any attempt to do so as “an idle folly originating in the brains of a few impractical women who have no knowledge, or care for, the world about them.” He continues, and asks, “Upon what line in God's revealed will or what principle in morals must these women, who are dying for something to do, take to relieving the other and remote end of the line of miserable consequences of the war?” His words for Southern women were no kinder. “A she clay-eater of the Carolinas, or a sand-hiller of Alabama, with but one garment to her body, and that a cotton frock, would elevate her nasal protuberance to its utmost aspiring flexibility at her sister of Brooklyn Heights, although the hand that holds the proffered loaf were covered with [j]ewels. The loaf might be taken but the hand would not be grasped.” A response, signed “E. B.,” followed on March 14. “I know very little of the Ladies' Association to which he refers; but I do know that the Southern Famine Relief Commission, of which Mr. James M. Brown, 61 Wall Street, is the Treasurer, and which was organized at the Cooper Institute meeting of January 25, did not originate with the ladies, whether practical or ‘impractical.’ ” “Inkgall” was unusually vehement in his thrashing of charity for the South, but his letter indicates the very public debate that surrounded the issue.38

(p.117) The question of how best to relieve the suffering there was not only being posed in the nation's newspapers; it was also being posed in Congress. The issue of loyalty was central to the congressional debate. By 1867, General Howard's role as commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau made him an expert on the condition of the South. On March 9, Howard testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, offering statistical evidence of the potential starvation in the South. His testimony concerned a joint resolution then in the Senate (HR 16), which proposed to appropriate an additional $1 million “for the relief of the destitute in the southern and south-western states.” It directed the Secretary of War to “issue supplies of food sufficient to prevent starvation and extreme want among all classes of the people … where a failure of the crops and other causes have occasioned widespread destitution.” The disbursement would be supervised by Howard and carried out through the officers and agents of the Freedmen's Bureau. Howard had written a letter the day before his testimony that offered estimates of what was needed in the South to relieve “thirty-two thousand six hundred and sixty-two whites, and twenty-four thousand two hundred and thirty-eight colored people, making in all fifty-six thousand nine hundred who will need food from some source before the next crop can relieve them.” Rations for these people would total 1,707,000 per month and, as the famine was expected to continue for five months, the aggregate number would reach 8,535,000 rations. At a cost of $.25 per ration, his estimated cost was $2,183,750. After subtracting $625,000 that was already appropriated, Howard would need an additional $1,508,750. Again, he was careful to distinguish between those persons who fell under the Bureau's jurisdiction in its original mandate and those who would be relieved by this new appropriation: “The present appropriation is ample, provided the issues be confined to the classes named in the Freedmen's Bureau act; but the additional sum named will be required should the issue be extended as contemplated in the foregoing estimate.” Included in the letter was a “tabular statement” of numbers of destitute people in all eleven former Confederate states.39

In the end, there would be no $1 million appropriation. The joint resolution met fierce debate in both the Senate and the House, and portions of those debates were reprinted in newspapers and were the subject of editorials and letters from citizens. In the House debates, Benjamin F. Butler, Republican of Massachusetts, offered an argument that would be echoed by others in newspapers. He offered a substitute for the bill that would use the funds “in relieving the widows and children of Union soldiers starved to death in the Rebel prisons at Andersonville, Salisbury, Libby, Millen, and Bell Isle.” Similarly, William Williams, Republican of Indiana, argued that he could not tax the “one-armed and limbless soldiers of the Republic” to support the “women and children (p.118) who with malignant hatred spat upon our soldiers wounded and weary in their march to the sea.” He lodged his “protest … in behalf of the widows and orphans of the men who were starved to death at Andersonville.”40 This debate was reprinted in the New York Tribune on March 14, and discussion of the bill itself is found in the pages of the Albany Express, Commercial Advertiser, the Evangelist, the Express, the Brooklyn Daily Union, the New York Sunday Mercury, the New York Herald, and the New York Times.41

Supporters of the appropriation met these charges, in Congress and in the public debate, with varied responses. Congressman Benjamin Boyer, Democrat of Pennsylvania, based his argument upon a British example: “Twenty years ago, the Parliament of Great Britain voted $50,000,000 for the relief of the starving population of Ireland.… And shall it be said that the great Republic of America is less merciful to her perishing children than was that nation we have been accustomed to denounce as the tyrant of the Indies and the oppressor of Ireland?” Another reference to Ireland was found in a New York Express editorial “Famine at Home,” printed February 20:

We have been sending money to Crete and elsewhere, and years ago sent ships laden with bread to feed the poor of Ireland. It was said in Congress at that time, by an old Southern Senator, that he could not comprehend such a thing as a famine abroad, as he had never seen anything but its very opposite at home. The scene now changes. Famine stares us in the face, and among a people who are our brothers and sisters, or if this is not admitted, then at least our lifelong countrymen.

The editorial closed with an appeal commonly found in arguments supporting the appropriation: “Christian charity and common humanity demands that, as far as in us lies, there shall be an end of this deplorable suffering and sorrow.” An editorial in the same paper offered a more matter-of-fact argument on March 14: “We have appropriated millions to killing the people of the South in lawful battle. Can't we conscientiously and consistently do something to feed them?”

On March 22, 1867, the House passed a greatly altered joint resolution that allowed the Freedmen's Bureau to use its “unexpended” funds to assist “destitute or helpless persons.” Bureau funds were officially available to anyone Bureau officers deemed “deserving.” As described on March 21 by William Lawrence, Republican Representative of Ohio, the bill would

direct the officers of the Freedmen's Bureau to expend the $2,100,000 appropriated for the refugees and freedmen for the benefit of all people of all (p.119) classes, loyal and disloyal, in the rebel States who may be in a destitute condition, thus diverting in part this money from the purpose for which it was appropriated, and taking it in part from the suffering classes for whom it was designed.

Before the initial Bureau legislation was passed, loyal whites were included in the “Freedmen's” Bureau. Two years later, loyalty was no longer an issue. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands could, with congressional sanction, assist anyone deemed “destitute or helpless.”42

The defeat of the $1 million appropriation bill provided private charitable organizations added incentive to press forward with their campaigns; their efforts would be needed because there would be no forthcoming additional federal aid. They continued to advertise the plight of destitute Southerners in Northern papers. In the March 25 edition of the New York Times, a plea for aid noted that

the sickening revelations of our correspondents concerning the difficulties, embarrassments, privations and sufferings of the women and children who are reduced from wealth or ease to want and poverty are fully corroborated by private letters in the City by reports of O. O. Howard and the Freedmen's Bureau agents. These of themselves constitute a claim, as absolute as the right of a child, upon the generosity of the more prosperous sections of the country.

On March 25, the New York Herald noted that

the condition of the Southerners is such that Congress found it necessary to make some provision for them, though appropriations are rarely made and scarcely within the legitimate legislation of that body. But this is a case that could not be overlooked. Consequently an act has been passed to afford relief from the Freedmen's Bureau fund. Major General Howard … says “suffering is great and on the increase” in the South, and that his means for relieving it, with this fresh draft upon his resources, will not last beyond next December. He urges that additional aid be given by voluntary contribution.

Without the additional appropriation, and faced with assisting all “destitute or helpless” Southerners, Howard needed the associations' assistance, and they needed his name to give credence to their descriptions of destitution. The arrangement proved fruitful for starving Southerners.43

(p.120) Georgia Governor Charles Jones Jenkins was concerned with another class of Georgians, and he, too, made a public appeal concerning the destitution that found its way into Northern papers. As described above, the state government made appropriations for the purchase of corn totaling $300,000 in 1866. It also appropriated an additional $20,000 to pay for freight on the supplies coming from the “benevolent societies.” There was a restriction, however, that “all supplies on which the State shall pay the freight, shall be distributed under the same provisions as are contained in the resolution of last session.” Presumably, this meant that supplies could only be issued to people whom county agents could confirm were unable to work. Even in the midst of such a crisis, the state legislature still emphasized only offering aid to the most destitute. No matter the amount, Jenkins anticipated further suffering and deemed it necessary to issue “an address” to the people of Georgia in May. The New York Times printed both an interpretation of the address and a verbatim transcript; both further our understanding of how several sources of aid worked together in Georgia.44

Jenkins sought to explain the distribution restrictions on all sources of aid for destitute Georgians. Aid from the state as well as “noble charitable associations of the more fortunate States” were restricted to the poor without property as “it would be a violation of the trust to distribute them among property holders, in aid of agriculture.” Those propertied individuals were Jenkins's primary concern. They, too, were starving in some areas. He described the situation this way. “All that the State Government and the United States Government and the ever memorable charities of benevolent individuals have done will fall short of full relief.” The solution he offered was simple: Those with land should plant “cereals and other articles of food.” Jenkins “fear[ed] there [was] too much land devoted to cotton, cotton, cotton.” As had happened during the war, some Georgia farmers were opting for cash crops, much to the detriment of the state. Jenkins urged them to change tactics as “a dictate of patriotism.” If state, federal, or private charity was unavailable to the landed poor, this was the only way for true recovery.45

No thorough examination of private charitable relief during Reconstruction exists. However, Alice B. Keith of Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, writing for the sociology journal Social Forces in 1939, shed some light on the complexity of the aid process. Keith described how “the story of the sympathy and the assistance given to the white people of the South by the people of the North during [Reconstruction] is not often heard.” Focusing her work exclusively on North Carolina, she found newspapers and magazines the best sources of information. Those sources continue to hold great potential to further our (p.121) understanding of the evolution of Southern welfare from the Civil War through Reconstruction and beyond.46

The story of welfare aid in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction cannot be fully understood by studying organizations in isolation. Georgia and other Confederate states established welfare programs during the war. After the war, the federal government as well as private organizations provided additional aid as Georgia continued to provide its own relief. When we study the relationships between these organizations—when we recognize the continuities between wartime and postwar programs—we begin to approach a more thorough understanding of America's nineteenth-century welfare history. The reasons this aspect of American history has remained obscure are puzzling; it is, after all, a compelling story. But in 1937 Keith provided what is perhaps the most eloquent answer to that question: “Man is not given to advertising his indigencies nor to eulogizing his creditors.”47


(1.) Registers of Letters Received by the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865–1872, roll 23, Record Group 105, National Archives Microfilm Publication M752.

(2.) The terms planters, yeomen, poor whites, plain folk, and common folk used here are based on those found in David Williams, Rich Man's War: Class, Caste, and Confederate Defeat in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998), 211n15. Williams's definitions are standard, but they concisely describe commonly used (p.233) terms: “Planters are defined by their ownership of twenty slaves or more … yeomen here refers to small farmers and herdsmen ranging from those who owned at least three acres of land and no slaves to those who held up to four slaves. Tenants, sharecroppers, and farm laborers, generally referred to (along with unskilled urban workers) as poor whites, worked land owned by someone else. The designation plain folk or common folk when used in this study generally means yeomen and poor whites, although most often it includes small merchants and skilled artisans (mechanics) as well.” With those definitions in mind, the term used here, “white poor,” refers to whites who received aid from any source. As discussed throughout this study, the requirements for aid did not depend upon a recipient's class identification (such as landowner or non-landowner) but on their current state of need. Therefore the use of poor white in this case would be inaccurate. For more discussion of the subtleties of and complications that arise from these definitions, see Stephen V. Ash, “Poor Whites in the Occupied South, 1861–1865,” Journal of Southern History 57 (Feb. 1991): 39–62. A classic study of poor whites in Georgia is found in Steven Hahn, The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850–1890 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).

(3.) John Hope Franklin, “Public Welfare in the South during the Reconstruction Era, 1865–1880,” Social Service Review 44 (Dec. 1970): 379–92. Franklin examined the South as a whole, but most of his data came from North Carolina.

(4.) Elna C. Green, This Business of Relief: Confronting Poverty in a Southern City, 1740–1940 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2003). Interestingly, Green's edited collection Before the New Deal: Social Welfare in the South, 1830–1930 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999) does not address the role of the Freedmen's Bureau in great detail. For more on the ever-evolving roles of the Freedmen's Bureau and its agents in Georgia, see Paul A. Cimbala, Under the Guardianship of the Nation: The Freedmen's Bureau and the Reconstruction of Georgia, 1865–1870 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997). Robert H. Bremner's The Public Good: Philanthropy and Welfare in the Civil War Era (New York: Knopf, 1980) and his article “The Impact of the Civil War on Philanthropy and Social Welfare,” Civil War History 12 (Dec. 1966): 294–98, are excellent resources for understanding the ideology behind welfare in the era. For more on the evolution of the role of welfare in Civil War and Reconstruction historiography, see Denise Wright, “Civil War and Reconstruction Welfare Programs for Georgia's White Poor: The State, the Freedmen's Bureau, and Northern Charity, 1863–1868” (PhD diss., University of Georgia, 2005), 19–35.

(5.) Peter Wallenstein, From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), 30; Emory M. Thomas, The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1971; Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1991), 86. The drought and military activities in Georgia are best described in Lee Kennett, Marching Through Georgia: The Story of Soldiers and Civilians During Sherman's Campaign (New York: HarperCollins, 1995). For interesting details of the shortages people faced throughout the Confederacy, see Mary Elizabeth Massey, Ersatz in the Confederacy (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1952). For one of the few book-length accounts of life as a refugee, see Massey, Refugee Life in the Confederacy, with a new introduction by George C. Rable (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, 2001). The summer droughts also are discussed in a series of letters from Governor Joseph E. Brown contained in Allen D. Candler, comp., The Confederate Records of the State of Georgia (Atlanta: C.P. Byrd, State Printer, 1910–41), 3:328–29, 501–3.

(6.) These acts and expenditures are detailed in Wallenstein, From Slave South to New South, 99–109; and Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, Passed in Milledgeville at an Annual Session in November and December, 1863; also Extra Session of (p.234) 1864, part I: Public Laws, title I: Appropriations, section XII: Passed November and December 1863 (Milledgeville: Boughton, Nisbet, Barnes, & Moore, State Printers [hereinafter cited as BNB&M], 1864), 8. This section includes both the $500,000 salt appropriation as well as the $200,000 appropriation for cotton and wool cards. By the time the comptroller general issued his 1865 report, salt distribution had become part of the larger Indigent Soldiers' Families Fund, discussed below. For cotton card legislation, see Journal of the Senate of the State of Georgia, 1862 (Milledgeville: BNB&M, 1862), 58; and Annual Report of the Comptroller General of the State of Georgia Made to the Governor, October 16, 1865 (Milledgeville: BNB&M, 1865), 54–66. All government publications are available online from Documenting the American South, http://docsouth.unc.edu.

(7.) Joseph E. Brown, “Relief to the People,” Journal of the Senate, 1861, 22–23. Brown noted that “in this state of things it is the duty of the Government to do all that can be done, to afford relief.” The advances on crops would be overseen by a single state officer who would be solely devoted to the job. By mid-November, the Georgia Senate responded with a proposal to incorporate the Cotton Planters' Bank to exchange the treasury notes for cotton (77). On December 14, the proposal became law. See “An Act to Incorporate the Cotton Planters Bank of Georgia,” Acts of the General Assembly, 1861, 20–22. The fund was sometimes referred to as the “Soldiers’ Families Fund” in legislative documents and state reports.

(8.) Brown, “Governor's Message,” Journal of the Senate, 1862, 19–20. The bounty was available to families with a soldier in the field, widows of soldiers, and widows who had at least one son in service. Funding from the railroad would be increased by a 25 percent hike in freight rates and a 33.3 percent tax on income from “speculation.” Initial monies would be procured by a short-term loan. It is worth noting that in the fall of 1862, the discussion of salt took up more of Governor Brown's annual message than other relief efforts. For more on the problems of speculation, even from within the Confederate War Department, see Williams, Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight, chapter 4.

(9.) Journal of the Senate, Extra Session, March 1863, 124–25. See also Wallenstein, From Slave South to Ne, 102; and Williams, Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight, 110. According to the comptroller general's 1864 report, $809,569.75 of this fund remained “undrawn” as of October 15, 1863—the end of the fiscal year.

(10.) Brown, “Governor's Message,” Journal of the Senate, 1863, 19–20, 218. One of Brown's reasons for the larger request was because of “depreciation” and scarcity of supplies. He even proposed that the funds be raised “if it takes an annual tax of ten per cent” (20). Kennett describes Georgia's welfare expenditures in 1863 as “in a sense class legislation, destined for members of the class that was at once most loyal to Brown and most vulnerable to the wrenching economic changes the state was undergoing” (Marching Through Georgia, 31). This description is accurate, and it is interesting to note that Brown's home county of Cherokee received the largest disbursements from the Indigent Soldiers’ Families Fund for the fiscal years 1863–64 and 1864–65.

(11.) “An Act to provide for raising a revenue for the political year 1864,” Acts of the General Assembly, 1863; also Extra Session of 1864, part I: Public Laws, title I: Appropriations, section XVI, 8.

(12.) “An Act to appropriate money for the support of indigent families of Soldiers,” Acts of the General Assembly, 1863; also Extra Session of 1864, part I: Appropriations, title XVIII: Soldiers and Soldiers Families, section I, 70. Additional funding for the bill came from taxing bank stock (74).

(13.) Ibid., 70–73. As with other appropriations, the state comptroller general would disburse the funds to the inferior court representatives and also was responsible for keeping records. For more on Confederate widows, see Lee Ann Whites, The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia, 1860–1890 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, (p.235) 1995); and Jennifer Lynn Gross, “‘Good Angels’: Confederate Widowhood and the Reassurance of Patriarchy in the PostBellum South” (PhD diss., University of Georgia, 2001).

(14.) Massey, Refugee Life in the Confederacy, 244–46. Massey details the complexities of distributing aid to refugee populations throughout the Confederacy. In Massey's comparison, Georgia's laws concerning refugees were more liberal than most Confederate states.

(15.) Annual Report of the Comptroller General, 1864. The three counties who made no returns for the Soldiers’ Families Fund were Catoosa, Chattooga, and Dade. Murray and Walker Counties, also in northwestern Georgia, made their returns sometime between late March and October. Further evidence of the disruptions of war is found in Thweatt's enumeration of income tax returns by county. Nineteen counties (Catoosa, Charlton, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Gordon, Milton, Monroe, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Pierce, Polk, and Walker) filed no income tax returns whatsoever for the tax year 1863–64 (April to April). Of those nineteen, sixteen are in northwestern Georgia. Pierce and Charlton Counties are in far southeastern Georgia, but their returns were missing because the office of “Receiver of Tax Returns” is reported as vacant in the report. Regarding Monroe County, just north of Macon in the center of the state, the report informs us that the return was “so deficient” that the governor asked to have it reformulated and resubmitted. It is interesting to note that far more northern counties made their returns for the Soldiers’ Families Funds than their income tax returns, implying that they perceived the former to be more crucial, or at least filled a more immediate demand, than the latter. For more on the Fosterville settlement in Terrell County, see Massey, Refugee Life in the Confederacy, 246; and Acts of the General Assembly, Mar. 11, 1865, 81–82. Kennett, Marching Through Georgia, supplies the most detailed description of the exiles, white Confederates who were expelled from the city of Atlanta by an order from General Sherman on September 5, 1864. Kennett identi-fies the location of the exiles’ destination as Dawson, the county seat of Terrell County, and notes that Brown “bent the rules” to use military funds to support the exiles (207–12).

(16.) Annual Report of the Comptroller General, 1865, 54–66. “Indigent Soldiers’ Families Fund” and “Soldiers Families Fund” are used interchangeably in various reports.

(17.) Ibid., 20–22. Thweatt was in the unenviable position of attempting to reconcile prewar and wartime debts amid discussion of repudiating the Confederate debt, which he vehemently opposed. Part of his argument against repudiation was the fact that there was a “morality” to the debts incurred to assist soldiers’ families.

(18.) “An Act for raising a Revenue for the political year eighteen hundred and sixtysix,” Acts of the General Assembly, Dec. 1865 and Jan.–Mar. 1866, part I: Public Laws, title III: Appropriations, &c., vol. I, section XI, 12–13; “An Act for raising a Revenue for the political year eighteen hundred and sixty-seven,” Acts of the General Assembly, 1866, part I: Public Laws, title II: Appropriations, &c., vol. I, section XXXV, Dec. 13, 1866, 11; both at “Georgia's Acts and Resolutions from 1799–1999,” Georgia Legislative Documents Project, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia, http://neptune3.galib.uga.edu/ssp/cgi-bin/legisidx.pl?sessionid=7f000001&type=law&byte=38189857. Section XXVIII of the December 1866 appropriation also provided $20,000 for transportation of “corn and other supplies donated by the people of Kentucky and benevolent societies of other States, to the destitute of Georgia,” which is examined in detail below. Former Comptroller General Peterson Thweatt, who so dramatically argued against repudiating the state's debt, was the state agent in charge of distributing this fund. It also is notable that once the war was over, the “aged and infirm persons” who were eligible for aid were specifically described as “white.”

(p.236) (19.) Congressional Globe, 39th Congress, First Session (Jan. 30, 1866), 516. Congressman Eliot also stated that in a case where one was not comparing freedmen and refugees, it was possible to use refugee to apply to a black person if that person had not been enslaved. In short, it was possible for a black refugee to exist, but because most discussion centered on freedmen and refugees, as is obvious from the title of the Bureau, most of the time refugee meant white. For further analysis of the racial equity of the original Freedmen's Bureau legislation, including the House and Senate debates, see Paul Moreno, “Racial Classifications and Reconstruction Legislation,” Journal of Southern History 61 (May 1995): 271–304. Moreno does not limit his examination to this bill, but also includes analysis of subsequent legislation to determine whether “the new American citizenship [of the freedpeople], constitutionally and legally defined, [was] to be colorblind or color conscious” (27).

(20.) Office of the Commissioner, Reports, Entry 33, Box 6, Record Group 105, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (hereinafter cited as BRFAL). This untitled, fourteen-page report is not part of the microfilmed records of the Freedmen's Bureau. The statistics it contains were compiled from each state's and the District of Columbia's monthly reports, which were filed by assistant commissioners.

(21.) Ibid. The four states that distributed more rations than Georgia were Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The four states that issued a greater percentage of rations to whites were Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Maryland. The assistant commissioners submitted their data on folio-sized, preprinted report forms, found in Monthly Reports of the Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (BRFAL) for the State of Georgia, Dec. 1865–Dec. 1867, Entry 33, BRFAL. The Georgia commissioners submitted separate sheets clearly labeled “Freedmen” and “Refugees.” The reports identify the number of rations issued rather than the number of people who received rations, which precludes determining the number of people who received the enumerated rations. Ration distribution is subdivided by gender and age (adult or child under fourteen); “First Class,” which included “Dependents,” both “Well” and “Sick”; “Second Class,” defined as “In Government Employ”; and “Third Class,” defined as “Receiving Rations and Giving Lien on Crop.” Unfortunately, the narrative reports that originally accompanied these statistical reports were separated after receipt in Washington and are no longer part of this entry.

(22.) Monthly Reports of the Assistant Commissioner, Dec. 1865–Dec. 1867, BRFAL. A “ration” was far from standardized. Officially, a ration should include enough food—primarily corn—to feed one person for one week. In reality, one ration was often whatever food the agent could procure, divided between the most desperate citizens. Corn, corn meal, bacon, salt pork, and flour are listed in various agents’ records. The original monthly reports use a combination of descriptors for distribution points. Most often, the “station” identified is a city, which is presumably the location of the Freedmen's Bureau agent in that county. Generally, it is the county seat, but there are exceptions. In some cases, the station is identified as a county, and in even fewer cases, counties are combined as a single station. For example, a single monthly report could contain a combination of city stations (Savannah), county stations (Morgan), and multi-county stations (Henry and Newton).

(23.) Walton County, which is just north of the boundary separating the upcountry from the eastern Black Belt, had a slave population in 1860 of 4,621, or 41 percent of the total county population. Gilmer County, in the mountains, was a ration distribution station, but ranked last in Georgia's slave population in 1860 with 167, 2 percent of a total population of 6,724. University of Virginia Library, Historical Census Browser, 1860.

(24.) Monthly Reports of the Assistant Commissioner, Dec. 1865–Dec. 1867, BRFAL.

(p.237) (25.) The use of inferior court judges to administer welfare after the war's end is confirmed in a letter, dated Feb. 6, 1867, found in Anne Middleton Holmes, The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association, 1866–1867: An Account of the Relief Furnished by Citi-zens of New York City to the Inhabitants of the Devastated Regions of ht South Immediately After the Civil War (New York: The Mary Mildred Sullivan Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1926), 31–33. Signed by W. B. Johnston, whose title and position are not identified, the letter states that the author had recently spoken to Georgia Governor Jenkins and found “that there is an organization of Agents under the supervision of the Inferior Courts of each County in the State for distributing contributions. All that is sent in money, provisions, & clothing is properly distributed to the poor” (31).

(26.) Holmes, The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association. The pamphlet includes a narrative introduction by the author as well as transcripts of letters received. The final report is accompanied by a list of subscribers and their donations as well as brief information concerning the Brooklyn auxiliary. This pamphlet is by no means an unbiased source. The narrative is clearly supportive of the Dunning School of Reconstruction history, which is unsurprising given its publication date and connection to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It also is possible that the letters published in the pamphlet were edited to include only those that supported Holmes's ideology. This does not, however, compromise their worth as sources. The original records are housed in the Brockenbrough Library at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia.

(27.) Holmes, The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association, 7, 21. Holmes's pamphlet is careful to point out that Mrs. Sullivan never offered aid of which the federal government would disapprove. The Sullivans’ Southern connections continued after their deaths. Their son founded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation in 1934. It took over the responsibility of awarding the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from the New York Southern Society, now defunct but which had given the award since the 1890s. The foundation, now based in Oxford, Mississippi, continues today and awards more than $1 million in grants to thirty private Appalachian colleges. They also continue to award the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards, both based upon criteria including philanthropy and humanitarianism, annually at those colleges and another twenty-five southeastern colleges. Details are found at www.sullivanfdn.org. Holmes also wrote Algernon Sydney Sullivan (New York: New York Southern Society, 1929), and Mary Mildred Sullivan (Mrs. Algernon Sydney Sullivan): A Biography (Concord, N.H.: Rumford Press, 1924), which notes it was “written for the records of The Mary Mildred Sullivan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, New York City. Printed by the Chapter for private circulation” (i).

(28.) Holmes, The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association, 111–13, 83. There were three officers and thirty-two executive committee members. Leary is identified in Holmes's pamphlet narrative as “brother of Countess Annie Leary.” Annie and Arthur's father was a wealthy New York merchant. Arthur once served as the excise commissioner for the city, and Annie was a philanthropist noted for her work with the Catholic Church and with immigrant women and children. One result of this work was the granting of the title of papal countess in 1901, the first woman in the United States to receive this recognition. For a detailed biography, see the searchable online version of the Biographical Cyclopedia of U.S. Women, vols. I–II (New York: Halvord Publishers, 1924–25), www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2018 (accessed June 24, 2006). All the executive committee members except two were married. Holmes's pamphlet refers to Mrs. J. I. Roosevelt, “wife of the distinguished Judge of that name.” Presumably, this was James I. Roosevelt, who served on the New York State Supreme Court and in congress, and was related to the future president, Teddy Roosevelt. The listing of officers on page 111 includes “Mrs. J. J. Roosevelt,” which is likely a typographical error. J. C. Frémont was, among other things, Union Army general and the first Republican candidate for (p.238) president. Cyrus McCormick invented the mechanical reaper. George Ticknor Curtis was a noted attorney and served on the defense team in the Dred Scott case, and was a presidential biographer. Egbert Viele was the engineer who proposed and executed the construction of New York's Central Park, one among many notable accomplishments. E. W. Stoughton was presumably Edwin Wallace Stoughton, noted New York attorney who had defended Charles Goodyear in an early patent case and was one of the attorneys for the Electoral Commission in the 1876 election. Arguing for Rutherford B. Hayes paid off, as Stoughton was appointed minister to Russia in 1878.

(29.) Holmes, “Report,” “Receipts,” and “Statement,” The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association 83–110. Miscellaneous expenses included “rent, freight, stationery, advertising & printing, express charges, &c” (110). The exact amounts were $7,114.81 for provisions and $3,527.99 for expenses.

(30.) Ibid. See page 103 for the disbursement to Rev. Coley. On page 106, on May 6, an entry notes that $104.00 was sent to Opelika, but there is no Georgia town of that name. It is likely that this was sent to Opelika, Alabama, which is immediately across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Georgia. Periodically, the NYLSRA publicized their disbursements in newspapers, as evidenced by clippings found in the Records of the Southern Famine Relief Commission, NewYork Historical Society, “Newspaper Abstracts,” microfilm roll 4. The SFRC, established a bit later than the NYLSRA, was a larger organization, but there was considerable interaction between the two. For more on the SFRC, see Wright, “Civil War and Reconstruction Welfare Programs for Georgia's White Poor.” The complete records of the commission are housed at the NewYork Historical Society, but many have been included on four rolls of microfilm housed at the University of Georgia library. The microfilmed records include “Correspondence and Papers” on rolls 1 and 2; “Minutes of the Executive Committee (Loose),” on roll 3; and “Cash Book,” “Subscription Books,” “Telegrams Received,” and “Newspaper Abstracts” on roll 4. There also is an immensely detailed finding aid describing the full contents of the records, which is available online from the NewYork Historical Society, http://dlib.nyu.edu/findingaids/html/nyhs/southernfamrelief.html [accessed Dec. 18, 2009].

(31.) Ibid. Further research is required to determine why Columbus, though a major city, received so little aid from the NYLSRA. As the city is on the border with Alabama, it is possible that aid to Columbus was combined with aid to another Alabama city, but a thorough examination of patterns in Alabama is beyond the scope of this work.

(32.) Holmes, The New York Ladies' Southern Relief Association, 29. This is the only letter from a Freedmen's Bureau representative in Holmes's pamphlet, though further research may discover additional interaction between the two groups.

(33.) Ibid., 46–48. In the first letter, Mrs. Bachman is identified as “Mrs. S.W. Bachman,” but in the second she is identified as “Mrs. T.W. Bachman.” As the distribution of goods is not detailed in Holmes's pamphlet, it cannot be determined if the counties received any material aid from the NYLSRA. It is notable that neither of the men Mrs. Bachman listed as willing to distribute aid was specifically identified as a minister (one had no title, the other was a judge). This may have been the reason those counties received no cash, as there was no known minister to distribute it. The “Bureau” reference is presumably to the Freedmen's Bureau. The first of Mrs. Bachman's letters was reprinted verbatim in the New York Sun, dated April 30, and is part of the Records of the Southern Famine Relief Commission, NewYork Historical Society, “Newspaper Abstracts,” microfilm roll 4. One of the eight letters, dated February 6, 1867, from Macon, Georgia, describes conditions in the state and the poor relief agents who were supervised by the county inferior courts, as described above.

(p.239) (34.) Ibid., 77–78. It is not impossible that women in similar circumstances received direct assistance from the NYLSRA. The report of cash distributions includes six notations of “Donated to a Southern Lady per Committee” in amounts ranging from $25 to $100. Only one specifically notes a destination city and state.

(35.) Ibid., 48–49. A total of $200 was sent to Decatur during 1867.

(36.) Ibid., 60. George's letter highlights one of the pitfalls in using the detailed “Statement of money distributed,” as the only disbursement to “Rev. Mr. George” before mid-May was presumably sent to Lafayette, Georgia, not La Grange. La Grange is in Troup County, in the western Black Belt, and Lafayette is in Walker County, in the mountains. If this donation did go to La Grange, it would reduce the total amount of cash sent to Walker County to $50.00, reducing the total cash distribution to the mountains to $350.00. This would, of course, increase the amount to Troup County to $100.00, increasing the total to the western Black Belt to $550.00.

(37.) Ibid., 72.

(38.) Brooklyn Daily Union, March 12 and 14, 1867, Records of the Southern Famine Relief Commission, Newspaper Abstracts, microfilm roll 4 (hereinafter cited as SFNC Records). This file contains individual newspaper clippings, primarily though not exclusively from New York papers, with publication names and dates handwritten in the margins. A comparison to the online database of the New York Times, available through ProQuest.umi.com, confirms the handwritten dates as publication dates; therefore the handwritten dates are presumed to be publication dates for all other referenced newspapers. It cannot be determined if the pseudonymous “Inkgall of Andersonville” was an intentional reference to the infamous Georgia prison. For an interesting discussion of the role of women in late-nineteenth-century charitable associations, see John T. Cumbler, “The Politics of Charity: Gender and Class in Late 19th Century Charity Policy,” Journal of Social History 14 (Fall 1980): 99–111.

(39.) Congressional Globe, 40th Cong., 1st sess., Mar. 9, 1867, 39. Howard's letter and “tabular statement” are reprinted here in full. A clipping from the New York Post, dated March 9, 1867, which reprinted Howard's letter as well as the statistical table, is included in the newspaper clippings found in the Records of the Southern Famine Relief Commission, “Newspaper Abstracts.” The states, in order of total numbers of destitute people, were Alabama (10,500); South Carolina (10,000); Georgia (8,000); Virginia and North Carolina (5,000 each); Mississippi (3,900); Tennessee (2,000); Florida and Arkansas (1,500 each); Louisiana (500); and Texas (0). In his letter Howard included a postscript that he had since made his report: The Bureau assistant commissioner and the governor of Georgia had written with an estimate of numbers of destitute persons which far exceeded Howard's estimate of 7,500 whites and 5,000 freedpeople. He noted, however, that he was “unwilling to recommend a larger appropriation for Georgia before another estimate shall be made based on a thorough inspection.” The question of whom the Bureau was assisting, or would assist with this new appropriation, would find its way into the House debate of the bill. On March 13, Representative Logan noted that during the war he had witnessed the wives and children of Confederate soldiers lining up “at the doors of the commissary department at different posts receiving food, while we were fighting their husbands and friends at the front. They were not then above asking us to feed them, while they despised us and our cause, and I have no doubt the same class are now to be fed under this appropriation (88). On March 20, Representative Stevens posed the question, Have the officers of the b[u]reau, in relieving destitution, ever made any distinction between the poor loyalist and the poor disloyalist? Representative Stevens (Pennsylvania), responded, All I can say is that nine out of ten of those who have been fed by the Freedmens Bureau have been disloyal men who had become poor (236).

(p.240) (40.) Congressional Globe, 40th Cong., 1st sess., Mar. 13, 1867, 83–87; Mar. 20, 1867, 235. In his argument of March 13, Butler also mentioned that the state of Mississippi had allotted $20,000 not to feed the poor, but to defend Jefferson Davis, and that “ladies in Texas” had raised funds by selling Confederate uniforms, which they then sent to endow “the college in Virginia over which the rebel General Robert E. Lee presides.” Fernando Wood, Democratic Representative of New York, expressed his concerns about the bill multiple times. On March 13, he stated that he was “opposed to the government of the United States distributing alms under any circumstances whatever, and in direction whatever.” Additionally, he felt what the South needed (and he had recently traveled there) was capital, not charity. On March 20, he expanded his reasons for opposition to six. They were: Congress had no power to spend public money for charity; the South had not applied for aid; that the bill itself was “derogatory and insulting” to the Southern people; the Freedmen's Bureau agents were prejudiced against white Southerners and would not distribute the aid equitably; he suspected political motivations as the bill was offered just before Southern elections; and because the Bureau had $2.1 million “unexpended.”

(41.) SFRC Records. These are only the papers whose clippings are found in the SFRC records. A more thorough examination of papers beyond New York would likely unearth additional editorials and letters.

(42.) Congressional Globe, 40th Cong., 1st sess., Mar. 13, 1867, 85, 282, 260. Boyer also argued that the Freedmen's Bureau was the best agency for distribution because it already existed and was organized. He felt the great need required expediency rather than arguments over the possibility of misappropriation. The congressional debates were lengthy and revisited many of the central issues surrounding the original legislation, including whether Congress had the power to provide charity at all. The final joint resolution (S 16) was enrolled on March 25. Representative Lawrence detailed in his floor speech his estimate of $2.1 million of unexpended Bureau funds. He estimated that this amount remained from both the “appropriation act of July 18, 1866,” which totaled $4,770,250, and the “ ‘deficiency appropriation act’ of March 2, 1867,’’ which totaled $1.5 million (SFRC Records, roll 4). The resulting joint resolution, and the final vote, was printed in the March 23 issue of the New York Tribune.

(43.) New York Times; New York Herald, Mar. 25, 1887; both in SFRC Records. Howard also urged the various charitable organizations to send their own representatives to the South to ascertain the situation. These, too, were published. New York Post, Mar. 26, 1867. A relief committee in Boston followed Howard's advice, and on May 14, 1867, published an account in the Boston Transcript describing their agent's trip south and the disbursement of funds to various states. Georgia received $9,000, the largest amount given to a single state.

(44.) “An Act for raising a Revenue for the political year eighteen hundred and sixty-seven,” section XXVIII, approved Dec. 13, 1866, 11 “Georgia's Acts and Resolutions from 1799–1999,” The Georgia Legislative Documents Project, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.; New York Times, May 25, 1867, SFRC Records. Jenkins was elected governor in late 1865, replacing James Johnson, who had been appointed provisional governor in June. Joseph E. Brown, the previous governor, had been arrested in May. Jenkins had been a Whig before the war and then switched to the Democratic Party. Jenkins was forcibly removed from office by General George G. Meade in January 1868 after Jenkins, who had refused to recognize the legality of Congressional Reconstruction, repeatedly refused to pay the expenses of the required convention. For more on the complexities of these maneuvers, see Elizabeth Studley Nathans, Losing the Peace: Georgia Republicans and Reconstruction, 1865–1871 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1968), 56–78.

(45.) Clipping from New York Times, hand-dated May 25., SFRC Records, roll 4.

(p.241) (46.) Alice B. Keith, “White Relief in North Carolina, 1865–1867,” Social Forces 17 (Mar. 1939): 337, 345. At the time of her research, Keith could not locate the records or even confirm the existence of the SFRC, but she did discover many other private charitable organizations, as well as state appropriations, devoted to Southern poor relief. She quoted from a September 5, 1867, Raleigh Sentinel article titled “Our Best Friends,” which stated, “The entire Southern Relief Fund amounts to $2,876,809. Of this $500,000 comes from Louisville; $321,000 from New York; $1,000,000 from the State of Maryland; from Boston $49,127; from Saint Louis $347,375.” Keith noted that “the Southern Famine Commission is puzzling. There is the intimation that there was an attempt to consolidate the work for the famine relief in a central committee in New York City, but no description of such an organization has been discovered.” She was, however, intimately familiar with the ladies' organization, thanks to Anne Middleton Holmes' publication.

(47.) Ibid., 337.