The beginning of freedom


Union troops successfully occupied the area around Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1862. Two years later, in November 1864, this office for freedmen was photographed. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was established four months later on March 3, 1865. The Freedmen’s Bureau, as it was known, eventually established over 900 offices, like this one, throughout the South to help newly freed slaves make the transition to freedom.

National Archives, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs


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