In the Year 1865, the amorphousness of America following the emancipation of enslaved people left those in power to determine what to do with the individuals whom it was no longer legal to exploit for free labor. Within this decision, the freedmen’s bureau was formed, which entailed providing necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing, for the Southerns displaced ensuing the new law of prohibiting the ownership of African people (United States Senate, n.d.).
On March 3, 1865, the War Department of the United States established the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands; it has since come to be known as the Freedmen’s Bureau (National Archives 2021). Facing the aftermath of the Civil War and the havoc it wreaked on the American economic system, President Andrew Johnson worked alongside Congress to create the Freedmen’s Bureau, which was a federal agency that was established for the purpose of promoting the social welfare of the recently freed population of enslaved African Americans (Hatfield 2020).
On February 22, 1867, First Lieutenant and General Superintendent of Education in New Orleans, F. R. Chase, wrote to Captain William H. Sterling, the acting Adjunct General, reporting on difficulties in the Educational Department, which was overseen by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen’s Bureau). Chase’s letter complains of one of the department’s agents, A. D. McCoy, who had a tendency to overstep the bounds of his position. McCoy claimed authority over the district’s schools and the teachers appointed to them. However, the Superintendent or the Assistant Commissioner were responsible for these duties (Trudeau 1978, 2-3). Complicating matters, McCoy was a former Confederate and seemed to value religious preaching above his obligations as an educator.
The letter written by Father Deshon in regards to Ulysses S. Grant highlights the character of our 18th President and provides anecdotal information on how he viewed West Point and how he interacted with his fellow cadets. It also gives historical reference to life at the United States Military Academy. Continue reading →