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Too Great a Burden to BearThe Struggle and Failure of the Freedmen's Bureau in Texas$
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Christopher B. Bean

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823268757

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823268757.001.0001

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“The Post of Greatest Peril”

“The Post of Greatest Peril”

The E. M. Gregory Era, September 1865–April 1866

(p.30) 2 “The Post of Greatest Peril”
Too Great a Burden to Bear

Christopher B. Bean

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines the brief, yet formative, tenure of the Texas Bureau’s first assistant commissioner, E. M. Gregory. It chronicles the appointment of the first subassistant commissioners, examining who those appointed by Gregory were, the length of their tenures, and their reason for leaving. It also highlights problems experienced by only these initial agents and those endemic to all who followed. Continuation of slavery, procuring supplies and quarters, and implementation of contract labor were some of the few problems experienced by these initial agents. They also experienced something all agents would face: uncertainty and confusion to their authority as well as the frustration that superiors never truly understood the extent of conditions on the ground.

Keywords:   bureaucracy, Christmas Insurrection, E. M. Gregory, labor contract, post-war conditions, Texas, Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865–1877), slavery, subassistant commissioners, United States Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands

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