The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 6
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and violent assaults were on the decline except in remote areas.
"A great moral improvement has been noted," he said, but he
omitted to say on what basis this comparison was made.13
Inspector General Strong went along with Gregory as far as
Huntsville where he turned, crossed the Trinity at Ryan's Ferry
into deep East Texas. He held many meetings with freedmen
and with as many planters as could be induced to attend. He
explained to both groups their rights and responsibilities and
what was expected of them. Former slaves were informed that
they were free to move from place to place but were advised to
stay at home, to make contracts, and to work diligently if treated
Strong, however, found conditions bad in East Texas. He said
that men east of the Trinity did not know they had been freed;
they still thought that they would be freed at Christmas and that
there would be a division of property then. At Mount Jordan
and Jasper on the Neches and San Augustine and in all the
sections between the Neches and Sabine as far north as Hender-
son, freedmen were still held in abject slavery, and according to
Strong they were in a worse condition than when they were
slaves. He said that "they are frequently beaten unmercifully,
and shot down like wild beasts, without any provocation, fol-
lowed with hounds, and maltreated in every possible way."'14
These conditions were especially notable in the interior away
from troops and federal bayonets. To remedy this, Strong recom-
mended that a campaign be launched, similar to that of General
W. T. Sherman in Georgia to "improve the temper and gen-
erosity of the people" and that Gregory station fifty good officers
13E. M. Gregory to O. O. Howard, Houston, January 31, 1866 (MS., in Bureau
of Refugees ..., National Archives).
14Strong to Howard, January 1, 1866, in House Executive Documents, 39th Con-
gress, 1st Session (Series No. 1256), Document No. 7o, pp. 30o8-31o. The reasons
reputedly assigned for beating and killing negroes are most amusing. Some of
these gleaned from hundreds of pages of reports to Washington are as follows:
freedman did not remove his hat when he passed him; negro would not allow
himself to be whipped; freedman would not allow his wife to be whipped by a
white man; he was carrying a letter to a Freedmen's Bureau official; kill negroes
to see them kick; wanted "to thin out niggers a little"; didn't hand over his money
quick enough; wouldn't give up his whiskey flask.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/24/: accessed April 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.