This monograph is put forth as an essay in the history of reconstruction in the south. The author has sought to illuminate, in some degree, one of the many phases of that history which have not yet received adequate attention from investigators. He has aimed to give an orderly account of the origin, development, organization, and working of the freedmen's bureau, and to indicate the role which it played in the great drama of reconstruction and the bearing which its activities have had upon the southern situation during the later decades of the last century. In so far as this account shall be found clear and accurate, uncolored by local, political, or racial prejudice, and shall prove serviceable to the student and historian of the problems and period with which it deals, it will have attained the object for which it was published.<br><br>The writer here takes pleasure in acknowledging his obligation to the following persons for the prompt and courteous responses which they have accorded to his letters and queries and the important information which they have contributed: Hon. R. H. Battle, of Raleigh, N. C.; Professor K. P. Battle, of the University of North Carolina; the late Dr. J. L. M. Curry of Washington, D. C.; General O. O. Howard, of Burlington, Vt.; Hon. R. A. Hill, of Oxford, Miss.; General Stephen D. Lee, of Mississippi; Professor F. L. Riley, Professor J. G. Deupree, and Professor R. M. Leavel, of the University of Mississippi; General Wager Swayne, of New York; and Dr. T. G. White of Beaufort, S. C.