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November 9, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Reconstruction in Buckingham County, Part I

Courtesy Bibb Edwards

On March 28, 1867, Lt. Col. John W. Jordan, stationed in Farmville, Virginia wrote to Brevet Brigadier General Orlando Brown, the Assistant Commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau in Richmond. Jordan had been instructed by confidential communication to provide a list of “names of white and colored citizens” who were residents of his sub-district, recommending potential Magistrates “acceptable to both classes.” The “classes” being the white and the now free African-American male citizens of Buckingham, Prince Edward, Cumberland, and Charlotte counties. Jordan explained:

They are without exception men of high character and among the most reliable & influential men in the locations in which they reside and enjoy the confidence and [ —] of the communities generally and far as I am able to judge were originally opposed to the secession movement and those among them who have in any way given encouragement to the Rebel Cause did it reluctantly and because they were compelled to do it to protect themselves & property.

This Report has been delayed by reason of the fact that I was obliged to go over a vast deal of territory in order not only to find men who were qualified and acceptable but men who were not clearly disenfranchised. This in connection with the fact that it was extremely difficult to get at satisfactory information concerning their political antecedents without personal interviews in such case has seriously operated against my sweep.

I have no doubt however that these men can be relied upon in any position in which they would be called upon to act officially. As far as I am at this moment able to judge—they are actuated by the kindest feeling toward the freedman and are anxious for this advancement in every respect.

Coming next: Reconstruction in Buckingham County, Part II

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