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The Freedmen's Bureau Online

Records of the Assistant Commissioner for the State of Tennessee
Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, 1865 - 1869

National Archives Microfilm Publication M999, Roll 34
"Reports of Outrages, Riots and Murders, Jan. 15, 1866 - Aug. 12, 1868"

Chattanooga Sub-District
Chief Superintendent's Office
Chattanooga Tenn. November 6, 1866

Lieut. S. W. Groesbeck.
A. A. A. G.

I have the honor to submit the following report of outrages committed by whites on blacks in this Sub-District during the month of October 1866.

But one case has been reported in this Sub-District during the month; that one by James Ware Supt. of Bradley County. Measures are in progress to arrest and bring to justice the guilty parties.

Mr. Ware reports as follows: "A white man by the name of Lewis assisted by another named Farmer, went to the house of George Swafford a colored man, who resides in McMinn County and not finding him at home they drove his family away and destroyed a considerable amount of property. They then went and found Swafford and beat him very badly over the head with pistols and compelled him to come into Bradley County, as they said for the purpose of making the said Swafford go before a justice of the peace, and cause the warrant that had been issued for their arrest to be withdrawn. After they had got into the county they again commenced to beat him, but he got away from them. I have caused a warrant to be issued for Farmer who is a resident of this county. Lewis is a resident of Hamilton County and I forward a warrant to Capt. Gomer Sheriff of that county for his arrest. Lewis has threatened to kill me for having the warrant issued for his arrest, and kill the colored man for reporting him. I earnestly request that you cause the sheriff to arrest him immediately that he may have a chance to kill me on sight which he has sworn he would.

Capt. Saml. Walker, Supt. Knox County, reports that the freedmen are quiet and peaceable, and generally industrious; with few exceptions the whites treat them kindly and deal with them honestly. The civil authorities particularly of this county are disposed to extend to them all the rights and privileges to which they are entitled by existing laws, some have been admitted to the county Poor House and the judge of the county court has promised to have arrangements made to admit more after Jany 1st 1867.

Reports from McMinn County are to the effect that the freedmen cannot get anything like their rights under the laws. They are imprisoned on frivolous charges unsupported by reliable testimony, although allowed to testify their evidence amounts to nothing against a white man.

Very Respectfully Your Obdt. Servt.
M. H. Church
Capt. & Act. Chief Supt.