40 Acres and a Mule

 

William Tecumseh Sherman

Did you know this?

1865 – General William T. Sherman issues his Field Order No. 15,
setting aside “the islands from Charleston, south, the
abandoned rice fields along the river for thirty miles back
from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John’s River,
Florida,” for exclusive settlement by African Americans. The
order provides that “each family should have a plot of not
more than forty (40) acres of tillable ground…in the
possession of which land the military authorities will afford
them protection until such time as they can protect
themselves….” ¬†General Rufus Saxton, South Carolina
Freedmen’s Bureau director, will later settle some 40,000
African Americans on forty-acre tracts in the area. In
South Carolina and other states, African American settlers
will be given possessory titles pending final action on the
confiscated and abandoned lands of Confederate rebels. Many
will never see their land, because President Johnson will
reverse the policy implemented by the Freedmen’s Bureau.

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