Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of South Carolina
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, 1865-1870.
National Archives Microfilm Publication M869 Roll 34
"Reports of Conditions and Operationss"
Report of Conditions of Freedmen at Pineville and on Plantations visited by F. N. Montell Agent F. Bureau during the past week, also the feeling of the resident whites toward the colored people.
Maj. O. D. Kinsman
Asst. Adjt. Genl.
I found upon my arrival at the Pine land village, Pineville, a strong desire among the planters that I should go upon each plantation and give the people a general talking to. I also found Lieut. Hilliard and an Infantry force stationed here which had been engaged in regulating freedmen's affairs for all of which I have every reason to thank Lieut. Hilliard and to him is due the praise of having the country about Pineville in good order. I found the freedmen willing and submissive of which I had been informed by Lieut. Hilliard, the planters very much dissatisfied, throughout charging the U. S. Government with having destroyed the country and that, to use their expression, "everything had gone to the Devil." On my visit to a plantation named "Mount Hope" J. C. Warley, owner, in speaking to the people I used these words. "Now the war is over you must all go to work faithfully &c.," when I was interrupted by Mr. Warley who remarked in a loud voice "The war is not over." I stopped an asked for an explanation, he said "every man had a right to an opinion and his was that this thing would never die out and he had taken the oath by compulsion and not by choice.
I also saw on my way to this city yesterday the bags and bundles of the col'd people thrown from the cars by the conductor, and he told them "God damn your hearts, take these things off and if you put them on again I'll break your d--n hands." I saw sick colored people lying at Monchs Corner who were not allowed to go away on the cars and the conductor was very rough in all his intercourse with them.
The whole proceedings of the white people at Pineville towards the black race and the general spirit of hatred towards the Negro are of such a nature that I think that portion of the country will become deserted by the col'd people after this season unless the white people act differently towards them. I would also mention that Lieut. Hilliard had some difficulty with a person on the cars by reason of his uttering disloyal sentiments, saying "the d--n Negroes should be done as they were at Barnwell District." In Barnwell a Mr. Somebody had whipped two (2) of his former Negroes then took them to the military officer who told the white man to "whip them again as they had not had half enough."
If the black man is free and has common rights before the law why should he not be treated as such. The present course pursued towards him is very disgraceful and calls aloud for justice.
From the requests and appeals made to me by the col'd people in this section of country, I am satisfied that if these people are treated with justice and kindly feelings, they will be industrious, work faithfully themselves and show themselves the right temper and disposition.
Your Obdt. Servt.
(Sg'd) F. M. Montell
Agent F. Bureau
O. D. Kinsman
Assistant Adjutant General