C. W. Ault, Claim Denied, March 29, 1867

I’m looking at the undigitized records on FamilySearch. I’ve dabbled through some court records for Weakley County, Tennessee; skipped through some wills and testaments in Loudon County, Tennessee; and now I have tripped and fallen right into the middle of the records for the Freedmen’s Bureau Office or Subordinate Field Office Location in Knoxville, Tennessee.


When I started the job I have now, one of the women came to my desk to chat. Where are you from, where do you live, etc. I told her that I was from a little town in East Tennessee that she probably hadn’t heard of. She started talking about her family, and honestly? I started tuning her out. I had work to do. I was new there and didn’t want to get a reputation for chatting it during work hours. My head snapped up when I heard her say that her mother was from Lenoir City. I didn’t know her family because her mother would have been born a half-generation after my mother. I started an ancestry tree for her anyway.


I didn’t realize that there were Freedmen’s records in Tennessee. I’ve seen the ones that are online regarding bank accounts that people set up after the Civil War here in South Carolina and Georgia. Those are amazing records that list people’s place of birth, their trade, their relatives, etc., and are a rich source for information regarding formerly enslaved people.

The NARA description for this first one that I viewed is “Roll 16 (T142), Letters sent, vol 119, July 1866-Apr 1867″. 

What could “Letters” mean? Most of the enslaved people couldn’t read or write.

The majority of the correspondence was written by Samuel Walker, who was in charge of the Knoxville office. He made regular reports to the home office, and also requested help and aid for destitute people who weren’t covered by the Freedmen’s Bureau. I sat up last night and read every letter in the first roll of 85 images. I am tired and grumpy today, but not nearly as fatigued as Samuel Walker. I downloaded many of the images, because the *stories*. My goodness, the stories. Some white, most black.

The first story that I’ll start with is C. W. Ault.

AultCW claim denied 3-29-1867.jpg

Knoxville Te Mch 29/ 67


Bvt Maj. G.W.

Chf T.M.B.R. etc.

Nashville Te.


I have the honor to submit the following report with reference to the enclosed claim of C. W. Ault for wood alleged to have been taken from his premises by Lieut Robt. G. Barr, 10″ Mich. Cavy, A. A. M.

As the Claim in supported by the affidavits of men who are reported to be loyal & men of veracity, it is only after most thorough investigation and upon the most reliable evidence that I pronounce it intimely unjust. I can only account for these affidavits by supposing that the parties were not aware that Mr. Ault had already made a claim for between four & five hundred cords of wood taken by Lieut O. F. French from the same premises.

The facts in the Case are briefly these. During the winter of 1864 & 5 the Command of Genl Gillem, numbering about 3000 men were camped near the premises of Mr. Ault, leaving it about the 1st of April 1865. A claim was made by Mr. Ault – amounting to $1402.50, for wood taken by Lieut O. F. French A. A. M. of this command.

This claim has been reported on through Major W. A. Wainwright A. F. M. at Chattanooga Te. & approved. – either in whole, or in part – without however being aware of the existence of this Claim – and with the understanding that it – the Claim for the wood taken by Lt. French – should cover all damages done his premises.

From information received direct from Lt Barr, & Ex-officers who were attached to the same command, it appears beyond doubt that the Command of which Lieut Barr, was A. A. F. M., only numbered about 500 men: that they took possession of the Camp vacated by Genl Gillem’s Command about the 1st of April 1865 & only remained about 6 weeks or two months; that they did not build many new quarters and what few were built, were built from material taken from those left by Gillem; that the weather was warm and very little wood was used from the premises of any one, either for fuel or quarters.

These facts being established beyond doubt I am satisfied that the Claim made for wood taken by Lieut French, will amply compensate Mr. Ault for all damage done to, and wood taken from, his premises by the Government and would respectfully recommend that this Claim be disallowed.

I have the honor to be Major:

Very Respectfully

Your Obd’t Servant

Samuel Walker

Bvt Capt. Agent etc.

C. W. Ault is my coworker’s mother’s 2nd great-uncle.

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2 Responses to “C. W. Ault, Claim Denied, March 29, 1867”

  1. sara Says:



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