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    Sherman's Special Field Orders No. 15 granting each newly freed black family "(40) acres of tillable ground"

    William T. Sherman: Special Field Orders No. 15. Two pages, 5" x 8"; Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, In the Field Savannah, Ga. Jan. 16, 1865. 5" x 8". Orders issued by Major General William T. Sherman setting aside 400,000 acres of land confiscated from slave holders in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida for distribution to recently emancipated slaves, "now made free by the acts of war and the Proclamation of the President of the United States." The orders outlined the method by which these lands would be distributed stating: "Whenever three respectable negroes, heads of families, shall desire to settle on land, and shall have selected for that purpose and island or locality clearly defined, within the limits above designated, the Inspector of Settlements and Plantations will himself, or by such subordinate officer as he may appoint, give them a license to settle such lands... The three parties named will subdivide the land, under the supervision of the Inspector... so that each family shall have a plot of not more than (40) forty acres of tillable ground..." It can be debated whether or not these orders were given as a temporary solution or not; but the end result is that the families that settled these subdivisions presumed permanent ownership and were devastated when President Johnson revoked Sherman's orders stripping them of their homes and source of income.

    Together with General Orders No. 8 issued by Major General John G. Foster. Hilton Head, S.C.; January 25, 1865. One page, 5" x 8". General Orders No. 8 acknowledges Sherman's Field Orders No. 15, outlining the protections to be offered to the "negro Settlers" and the geographical boundaries covered by Sherman's orders.

    Condition: Both documents have neat slices at left margin, where they were previously bound. Both are gently toned; Orders No. 15 has soiling along the very edge on right. Orders. No. 8 has a single vertical crease.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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