June 2, 1865: Message Regarding Control of Abandoned Lands and Property
Whereas by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1865, there was established in the War Department a Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, and to which, in accordance with the said act of Congress, is committed the supervision and management of all abandoned lands and the control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen from rebel States, or from any district of country within the territory embraced in the operations of the Army, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the head of the Bureau and approved by the President; and
Whereas it appears that the management of abandoned lands and subjects relating to refugees and freedmen, as aforesaid, have been and still are, by orders based on military exigencies or legislation based on previous statutes, partly in the hands of military officers disconnected with said Bureau and partly in charge of officers of the Treasury Department: It is therefore
Ordered , That all officers of the Treasury Department, all military officers, and all others in the service of the United States turn over to the authorized officers of said Bureau all abandoned lands and property contemplated in said act of Congress approved March 3, 1865, establishing the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, that may now be under or within their control. They will also turn over to such officers all funds collected by tax or otherwise for the benefit of refugees or freedmen or accruing from abandoned lands or property set apart for their use, and will transfer to them all official records connected with the administration of affairs which pertain to said Bureau.