"The Revolver Rules the Day!": Colonel DeWitt C.
Brown and the Freedmen's Bureau in Paris,
Texas, z867- 868
WILLIAM L. RICHTER'*
D EWITT C. BROWN, THE SUBASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR THE BU-
reau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands stationed at
Paris, Texas, was a long way from his home in Dayton, Ohio. A Civil
War veteran, he had been the colonel of a black volunteer regiment,
the Sixty-fifth U.S. Colored Infantry, which served in Louisiana on gar-
rison duty during the war. Never suffering a battle casualty, the regi-
ment lost over 750 officers and men to disease. Sickness forced Brown's
own resignation shortly before the regiment's muster-out in early 1867.
The colonel had been in Texas since then, serving as a special traveling
bureau agent, subassistant commissioner at Wharton, and as an as-
sistant to the agent at Tyler. He found the latter job unchallenging,
though it is probable he did not get along with his regular army supe-
rior, and wished to be on his own at a new posting. The bureau needed
officers in northeastern Texas, so Brown received orders to assume
command of the Thirty-seventh Subdistrict (Fannin, Lamar, and Red
River counties) in September 1867. He began his duties the following
*William L. Richter has a Ph.D. in history from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.
He is the author of The Army in Texas during Reconstructzon, 1865-1870 (1987) and has pub-
lished numerous articles on military-civil affairs, race relations, constitutional issues, and Span-
ish colonial efforts in North America. Since 1975 Dr. Richter has owned and operated a private
business in Tucson, Arizona. He is currently at work on articles and a book on the Freedmen's
Bureau in Texas Reconstruction.
'See Acting Assistant Adjutant General (AAAG) to DeWitt C. Brown, Apr. 28, 1867, Let-
ters Sent (LS), Assistant Commissioner (AC), Texas (T), Records of the Bureau of Refugees,
Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (BRFAL), Record Group 105 (National Archives; cited here-
after as NA); Brown to AAAG, Jan. 4, Aug. 7, 1867, Letters Received (LR), AC, T; Francis B.
Heitman, Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From zts Organzzation, Septem-
ber 29, 1789, to March 2, I9o3 (2 vols.; Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 190o3), I,
83; Frederick H. Dyer, A Compendzum of the War of the Rebellion (3 vols.; New York: Thomas
Yoseloff, 1959), III, 1734.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed July 2, 2015.