From the Washington (Pa.) Reporter, 7/26/1865, p. 2, c. 6

[A Washington Dispatch.]



The following report from Colonel Brown, Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau for Virginia, was received to-day, and shows that the “chivalry” of Richmond are drawing rations by the thousands from Uncle Sam’s storehouses. Some plan must be adopted soon to compel the lazy, proud beggars to go to work and support themselves. The report also exposes some gross misstatements made by a New York paper.


RICHMOND VA., July, 15, 1865.

Major General O. O. Howard: - In reference to the article in the New York Herald to which you called my attention, I beg leave to submit the following facts: - The only barracks occupied by negroes in the vicinity of Richmond are those known as “the Chimborazo Hospital.” There has been no “fitting up” of these since they were evacuated by the rebels. They are simply coarse hospital barracks, nothing more. Owing to high rents in the city of Richmond – ten dollars a month being cheap for a single room in most wretched localities – a portion of these barracks has been set apart as homes for such persons as could not afford exorbitant rents, and for the reception of such persons as have been forced to leave their homes by their former masters.

The whole number of freedmen received at these barracks is twenty-five hundred and seventy-one, and all of these, except eight hundred and eighteen, have found work and homes elsewhere. All of the eight hundred and eighteen still left are supporting themselves. Meanwhile there have been ninety-eight white persons similarly accommodated with quarters in these barracks, sixty of whom are supported by the Government. The entire population of Richmond is computed by officials at about fifty thousand, of whom one half are colored persons.

From reports made to me, to-day, from the President of the Relief Commission, I find that out of twenty-five thousand colored persons only nine hundred and forty-two received rations for the week ending July 1st, while for the same time eight thousand four hundred and ninety four of the white population were fed by the Government. Now, if the scarcity of labor is so great why cannot some of the nearly nine thousand whites be hired to perform this work, and thus relieve the Government of their support? I do not understand why the colored man has not the same right with a white man to support his family in such a manner that they shall not be compelled to go “out to service.”

I sent for the regular correspondent of the Herald, and asked of him an explanation of the article. He informed me that it was not written by him, and that he would correct if at once.

I am, General, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Colonel and Assistant Commissioner.

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