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HOW THE FREEDMAN'S BUREAU ENCOURAGED FREE SLAVES TO ATTACK WHITES

Missouri Bushwhacker
Sam Hildebrand
The following is another "interesting" piece of information that is found in "Sam Hildebrand's Confession."

On pages 251- 253 Hildebrand relates the story of being in the Lewisburg, Arkansas area in the Winter of 1864-1865.  Included in this section of the book is the fact that organizations such as the Freedman's Bureau would incite freed slaves to turn in Southern sympathizers and commit all kinds of "villainy" against the Whites.

During the early part of the winter of 1864, several persons from the vicinity of Lewisburg, Arkansas, came to our Headquarters and reported trouble with the negroes and scalawags in that part of the State. Lewisburg is a small town on the north side of the Arkansas river, about fifty miles above Little Rock; the country around this place is very fertile, and before the war, was inhabited by a wealthy class of farmers of the highest cast of honor and intelligence, the most of whom owned a large number of slaves. 

It seems that as soon as the ordinance emancipating the slaves was enforced in that part of the country, several scallywags from the free States, slipped in among the negroes, whose especial duty seemed to be to incite the negroes to deeds of villainy. 

About Lewisburg they seemed to have been very successful in their mission as insurrectionists, and the continued reports from that quarter convinced us that a short campaign among them during the winter might be beneficial. 

In January, 1865, I started with eight men, we passed through Lawrence and Independence counties, and on reaching the beautiful country bordering on White river, which had been in a high state of cultivation before the war, but now sadly neglected, we approached near the town of Batesville, when we learned that two or three of the very animals we were hunting for were in that " neck of the woods." 

I left six of my men with our horses in a dense thicket, and three of us started out separately to visit the negro cabin. I had not proceeded far before I entered a dirty cabin of "colored people," whom I greeted very warmly. The household consisted of an old man and woman, each about sixty years of age, and about six others who were grown. 

The old man treated me with great politeness, and would persist in calling me " Massa," notwithstanding my repeated objections. 1 talked to them some time on the subject of their freedom ; the old man gave me distinctly to understand that he considered their condition much worsted by the change; but the youngsters seemed to be in a high glee over their future prospects. I succeeded in gaining their confidence by professing intense loyalty to their cause, and ascertained beyond all doubt that a "Bosting man" had been through the neighborhood to obtain their names and their pledges to support him for Congress as soon as the war should close, with the solemn promise from him that he would have all the land and the property of the whites confiscated and' given to them. 

One of the boys showed me a paper which he said was a certificate that he was to be the owner of the Anthony House in Little Kock. On inquiring where I could find my "Bosting brother," they told me that he was down about Lewisburg raising money from the Rebels to build school houses for the colored people." 

After intimating that I was an officer of the Freed- man's Bureau, I was about to depart; when a tall, lank specimen of a genuine Eastern philanthropist made his appearance at the door. After being assured that I was  "all right," he remarked that he had been in the neighborhood several days, and had made out a report of all the property which would be confiscated as soon as he returned to Washington. "

This was a practice that was carried out late in the war and into reconstruction. The Republicans (who were the "liberals" of the time were often sent to help lead the Freedman's Bureau chapters and were often promised the confiscated property of former slave holders for the misdeeds they were instructed to carry out.

As much as people do not want to hear this it was also the cause for the formation of the Ku Klux Klan. After reconstruction , the Klan was disbanded. When it was resurrected in the early 20th century, it's leaders were from the North and their reason for reforming much different.

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