91st PA--Edgar Gregory, Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for Texas

[three articles from 1 December 1865]

[Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph 1 December 1865 page 4]

It is probably to be regretted that there is a disposition on the part of some of the people to set themselves against the attempts that are made to harmony. We hear all sorts of the reports from the country, colored in all sorts of ways, to rely upon any of which would certainly mislead. A gentleman, who doubtless believed what he said, stated to us the other day for instance, that General Gregory, the Chief of the Freedmen's Bureau, had advised the negroes not to make contracts till after Christmas in a public speech at Navasota. Another gentleman stated point blank, that General Gregory had urged, by all means in his power, upon the negroes, the importance of making now the contracts for 1866, with the work to begin on the 1st of January. Those who were present can tell which report was true. For our own part we look upon all such reports as show an antagonism between the bureau and the safety, not to say material interests of the country, as to be questioned on their face. If they are true, let their truth be established on unimpeachable testimony, and the evil will be abated. If not, let them be stopped.

A good deal of alarm is exhibited in various parts of the country regarding a talked of outbreak at Christmas. Our word for it, no general outbreak will occur. Already are troops so disposed about the country as to quell all such movements at once. Don't be alarmed. Nay, don't magnify the supposed danger and give it reality by talking about it. We hear strange reports, and they are often brought by men of truth and sagacity, but fresh as we are from the era of reports and rumors, such as ran the country half crazy the last two years, we must be excused from believing all we hear. Our people do little credit to their senses by losing them over old wives' tales, or turning themselves into old women in repeating them.

That there is a great deal of false expectation among the negroes, we do not doubt. It is not lessened by the notice taken of it. It will all be reduced to fact in due time, if people of sense treat it sensibly. But meanwhile the military authorities and the people must co operate and understand each other. It will not do for the military to tare [sic] open old sores, nor for the people to put their galled places in the way of a fresh abrasion. Either course will make trouble, and either can only result from a most unworthy recklessness. The military must not say "you take care of yourselves. we can take care of ourselves." They must take care of the people--protect them and maintain the peace, since they have upset all other means of doing so. The people must also act in equally good part. They must do all in their power to maintain harmony. They must not declare that because the usual means of maintaining peace are removed, they will do nothing to secure it. All disposition to disharmony, so to speak, should be checked.

We hope to see a favorable change before the talked of, and by many, expected crisis. We expect to see such a change because such changes are incident to the course of events. We have feared to pursue the course of the river all along. Every bend seemed to close in the passage before us. But thus far the river still continues open though just now we are making a very short turn, we expect the navigation will go on, and a broader and longer reach will soon open before us.

Meanwhile, we pray all extremists, of whatever character, from the extreme radical, to the extremist unwilling submissionist to circumstances, to remember the old adage: In medio tutissimus ibis. You will go safest in the middle course.

[Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph 1 December 1865, page 5]

The City.

--The District Court was occupied yesterday with the Habeas Corpus case mentioned by us in Thursday's paper. The following is General Gregory's answer to the writ.


And now comes Brigadier General E. M. Gregory, the Respondent in this matter, on the 30th day of November 1865, and says it is true that he has under arrest the person described in the writ to which this return is made.

That Respondent arrested the said H. M. Elmore, in the discharge of his duties as Assistant Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau for the State of Texas, and by virtue of authority vested in me by the President of the United States, on a charge that sometime [sic] in the month of July 1865, the said H. M. Elmore without authority of law, and in contempt of the constituted authorities of the Government, ran down with dogs and guns, and falsely imprisoned and kidnapped a certain freedman named Shade, in Walker county, Texas, the truth of which said charge the said H. M. Elmore voluntarily admitted and confessed.

That at the time said act was committed the same was and is a high offence against the laws of the State of Texas, acquirable [?] by her civil authorities by virtue of the power conferred upon them under the Provisional Government organized by and under the authority of the President of the United States, yet, notwithstanding the power thus conferred in good faith, this Respondent is informed and believes, and so avers the truth to be, that the juries of the said county of Walker, utterly failed and refused to take any notice or cognizance of said offence as they were in duty bound to do, thus leaving the same freedman wholly without protection or redress, unless the same shall be extended to him by the Respondent, which protection this Respondent is determined to extend as far as his official power and authority as an officer of the Government of the United States will enable him to do.

This Respondent respectfully denies the jurisdiction [of?] your honor in the premise: but as questions involved are of great moment, delicacy and difficulty, respectfully [?] asks that the time to make a further return may be extended until the 15th January, 1866, so as to enable im to communicate with and obtain further advice and instructions from his government in the premises.

All which is respectfully submitted.

Brvt. Brig. Gen Asst. Gom'r, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands State of Texas.

The case was ably argued by Col. Manly and Judge Baker on the part of Col. Elmore, and Judge D. J. Baldwin and District Attorney A. P. Wiley, on the part of General Gregory, and Judge Caldwell decided to extend the case until the 15th of January next to be heard in Chambers at the next term of the District Court, to sit at Galveston, and required a bond in the sum of $5000 for the appearance of Col. Elmore at that time. The case of Mr. B. Grumbles was directed in the same manner and both parties gave bonds in the sum of $5000 each and were released.

[Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph 1 December 1865 p 7]
The City.

--Col. H. M. Elmore, who resides [near] Danville, Montgomery county, was [br]ought to this city, on Saturday lst, by [ord]er of General Gregory charged with [?]hing runaway negroes with dogs. A pack of five dogs were brought with him. The dogs are nothing but common deer hounds and do not resemble the negro bloodhounds at all. Col. Elmore was kept in the military guard house for a day or two and then released. Mr. B. Grumbles, the owner of the dogs, had been sent for, and is now confined in the guard house on the charge of hunting American citizens [wit]h dogs, a number of weeks ago. A writ [of H]abeas Corpus was granted yesterday [mor]ning, by Judge Caldwell, and the case [is] to be heard this morning. We learn the [mil]itary authorities respected the writ and [jus]tice will probably be done to all parties. [We?] shall have more to say about this case [after?] it closes. We understand the dogs [were?] used to track an unknown thief, who [whe]n found, proved to be a cullud [sic] person.


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