Guide to Federal Records

Records of Civil War Special Agencies of the Treasury Department


(Record Group 366)
1861-68
180 cu. ft.

Overview of Records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 366.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY
  • 366.2 RECORDS OF THE FIRST SPECIAL AGENCY 1861-66 23 lin. ft.
  • 366.3 RECORDS OF THE SECOND SPECIAL AGENCY 1863-66 86 lin. ft.
  • 366.4 RECORDS OF THE THIRD SPECIAL AGENCY 1863-68 44 lin. ft.
  • 366.5 RECORDS OF THE FOURTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1865-66 2 lin. ft.
  • 366.6 RECORDS OF THE FIFTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1861-66 6 lin. ft.
  • 366.7 RECORDS OF THE SIXTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1863-66 5 lin. ft.
  • 366.8 RECORDS OF THE SEVENTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1863-66 11 lin. ft.
  • 366.9 RECORDS OF THE EIGHTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1861-65 1 lin. ft.
  • 366.10 RECORDS OF THE NINTH SPECIAL AGENCY 1865-68 4 lin. ft.
  • 366.11 RECORDS OF U.S. PURCHASING AGENTS (USPA) 1864-65 6 lin. ft.
  • 366.11.1 Records of the U.S. Purchasing Agent at New Orleans, LA
  • 366.11.2 Records of the U.S. Purchasing Agent at Memphis, TN

366.1 ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY

Established: In the Department of the Treasury, under authority of an act of July 13, 1861 (12 Stat. 257), as amended, permitting licensed trading with insurrectionary states.

Functions: Supervised trade and commerce in areas of the Confederacy occupied by U.S. forces. Under acts of July 17, 1862 (12 Stat. 589), March 2, 1863 (12 Stat. 820), and July 2, 1864 (13 Stat. 375), received and collected abandoned, captured, and confiscable property. Under Treasury Department regulations of July 29, 1864, established "freedmen's home colonies" to provide employment and welfare assistance to freed slaves. Restrictions on commerce east of the Mississippi River lifted by Presidential directive, June 13, 1865. Treasury enforcement of regulations concerning captured and abandoned property curtailed, June 27, 1865.

Successor Agencies: Division of Restricted Commercial Intercourse and Abandoned and Confiscated Property, Office of the Commissioner of Customs, Treasury Department; Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, War Department (1865-72).

Finding Aids: Kenneth Munden and Henry Beers, comps., Guide to Federal Archives Relating to the Civil War (1962), pp. 233-241.

Related Records: Records relating to restricted commercial intercourse and to captured and abandoned property, and to the Southern Claims Commission, in RG 56, General Records of the Department of the Treasury. Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, RG 105. Correspondence relating to captured and abandoned property, special agents' accounts, and allowed southern claims, in RG 217, Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury. Disallowed southern claims, in RG 233, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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366.2 RECORDS OF THE FIRST SPECIAL AGENCY
1861-66
23 lin. ft.

History: Established September 11, 1863, to comprise the Mississippi Valley (area west of the Allegheny Mountains), and embracing such portions of AL, MS, AR, and LA, as occupied by Union forces. Under reorganization regulation of July 29, 1864, Supervising Special Agent of the First Special Agency designated as General Agent, supervising all agencies. Boundaries of First Special Agency redefined by same regulation to include trans- Allegheny region to the mouth of the Tennessee River (Paducah, KY) and southward to include Union-occupied portions of AL, GA, NC, and VA. Boundaries in GA and AL extended, August 1865, to embrace two-thirds of each state.

Textual Records: Records of William P. Mellen as Supervising Special Agent and subsequently as General Agent with authority over all special agencies, including letters sent, 1861; letters received, 1861-66; reports received from surveyors of customs, 1861-65; petitions received, 1861-65; and copies of regulations and proclamations, 1861-65. Press copies of letters sent, 1864- 65. Letters received, 1864-65. Personnel records, 1863-66. Records relating to the Franklin, TN, district, 1863-65. Records relating to the Huntsville, AL, district, 1865. Records relating to areas in GA, 1865-66. Records of the Knoxville and Nashville, TN, districts, 1863-65. Records relating to trade, including trade in cotton, 1862-65. Records relating to captured, confiscated, and abandoned property, 1863-65.

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366.3 RECORDS OF THE SECOND SPECIAL AGENCY
1863-66
86 lin. ft.

History: Established by reorganization of July 29, 1864, to include area formerly part of the First Special Agency. Embraced the Mississippi Valley west of the mouth of the Tennessee River, including western TN and AR, and those parts of MS and LA occupied by U.S. troops operating from the north.

Textual Records: Records of the Special Agent, consisting of press copies of letters sent, 1865-66; letters received, 1863-66; and other records, including those relating to personnel, 1863- 65. Records of the following districts: Cairo, IL, 1864-65; Helena, AR, 1863-65; Little Rock, AR, 1863-65; Memphis, TN, 1863- 65; Natchez, MS, 1863-65; St. Louis, MO, 1863-64; Skipwith, MS, 1864; and Vicksburg, MS, 1863-65.

Related Records: Additional records of the Vicksburg district in records of the Assistant Commissioner for Mississippi, in RG 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

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366.4 RECORDS OF THE THIRD SPECIAL AGENCY
1863-68
44 lin. ft.

History: Supervising Special Agent at New Orleans appointed, May 16, 1863, with jurisdiction over LA, MS, and TX. Treasury regulations of September 11, 1863, designated area as Fifth Special Agency, with jurisdiction to include TX, and such parts of LA, AR, AL, and MS as were occupied by U.S. forces operating from the south. Jurisdiction extended, June 3, 1864, to include west coast of FL and port of Key West, FL. Under reorganization of July 29, 1864, agency redesignated Third Special Agency, losing responsibility for TX and Key West. Boundaries altered, April 25, 1865, to comprise LA and MS south of and including Grand Gulf.

Textual Records: Press copies of letters sent, 1863-68. Letters received, 1863-65. Personnel records, 1863-65. Financial and accounting records, 1863-65. Records relating to shipment, purchase, and trading in prohibited and plantation articles and products, 1864-65. Records of the Captured Cotton Bureau, 1865- 66. Records relating to plantation property, 1863-65.

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366.5 RECORDS OF THE FOURTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1865-66
2 lin. ft.

History: State of Texas originally part of Third (later Fifth) Special Agency. Separate agency, designated Fourth Special Agency, established by reorganization of July 29, 1864. No agent appointed until Purchasing Agent at New Orleans (SEE 366.11.1) designated Special Agent for TX and for LA west of Mississippi River, July 28, 1865. By subsequent Treasury order, Fourth Special Agency split into two divisions, each under its own agent. Agency reunited, October 3, 1865. Closed, August 4, 1866.

Textual Records: Letters received by Supervising Special Agent George S. Denison, June-November 1865. Press copies of letters sent, October 1865-April 1866. Letters received by Supervising Special Agent G.W. Dent, December 1865-July 1866. Miscellaneous records, 1865-66.

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366.6 RECORDS OF THE FIFTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1861-66
6 lin. ft.

History: Special Agent appointed for Sea Islands off the coast of SC, February 19, 1862. Expanded to include Union-occupied areas of GA, FL, and SC, May 1, 1863, and designated Fourth Special Agency, June 1863. Redesignated Fifth Special Agency, July 29, 1864, with jurisdiction over Union-occupied SC and south and east FL, and such parts of GA as were occupied by U.S. forces operating from the south. Boundaries modified by amended general regulations of April 25, 1865, creating the Eighth Special Agency (SEE 366.9).

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1863, and received, 1863-66. Accounts, returns, and reports, 1864-66. Letters sent and received by Special Agent E.L. Pierce, 1863, and other records, 1863-65, relating to the Sea Islands, including ports of Beaufort and Hilton Head and concerned primarily with plantations, abandoned property, supplies, and trade. Letters sent to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase concerning exploitation of Sea Island cotton, establishment of federal authority, and care and education of freedmen ("Port Royal Correspondence"), November 1861-August 1862. Records of Confederate financier, Bank Convention president, and blockade runner Gazaway Bugg Lamar, 1861-65.

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366.7 RECORDS OF THE SIXTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1863-66
5 lin. ft.

History: Third Special Agency, comprising State of North Carolina, established September 11, 1863. Redesignated Sixth Special Agency in reorganization of July 29, 1864, with responsibility for NC, except that portion north of Albemarle Sound and east of Chowan River.

Textual Records: Letters and reports of the Supervising Special Agent, 1863-65. Accounts and reports of local agents, 1863-66. Applications for licenses, 1863-65. Records relating to captured, abandoned, or confiscated property, 1863-66. Customs records, Wilmington, NC, including records of vessel arrivals and departures, coastwise inbound manifests, and cargo manifests, 1865. Records of internal revenue tax collections, Wilmington, NC, 1865.

Related Records: Record of leases, Wilmington, NC, March-July 1865, in records of the Assistant Commissioner for North Carolina, in RG 105, Records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands.

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366.8 RECORDS OF THE SEVENTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1863-66
11 lin. ft.

History: Second Special Agency, with jurisdiction over area east of the Allegheny Mountains, established September 11, 1863. Redesignated Seventh Special Agency in reorganization of July 29, 1864, with jurisdiction extended to include that part of NC north of Albemarle Sound and east of Chowan River.

Textual Records: Letters sent, 1863-66, press copies of letters sent, 1864, and letters received, 1863-66, by Supervising Special Agent H.A. Risley, with registers. Records of local and assistant special agents at Norfolk, VA, 1863-65; Hagerstown, MD, 1863; and Alexandria, VA, 1863-65. Account books, 1863-65. General records relating to internal and coastal commerce, 1863-65. Records of conferences with military commanders, 1863-64. Inventories of property turned over to military authorities, 1864-65. Registers of military permits for transport of food and other materials through the lines, 1863-65.

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366.9 RECORDS OF THE EIGHTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1861-65
1 lin. ft.

History: Established by Treasury Department amended general regulations of April 25, 1865, to include SC and that part of GA in and east of the Ogeechee River Valley, including Savannah.

Textual Records: Record of cotton shipped through the Confederate customhouse at Charleston, SC, 1861-65. Cotton registration book, 1865. Records of leases for houses and tenements in Charleston, 1865.

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366.10 RECORDS OF THE NINTH SPECIAL AGENCY
1865-68
4 lin. ft.

History: Established by Treasury Department amended general regulations of April 25, 1865, to include west FL and that part of AL south of the Alabama and Mississippi Railroad. AL jurisdiction curtailed, August 1865, to include only that part of the state south of Sumter, Marengo, Dallas, Lowndes, and Russell Counties.

Textual Records: Press copies of letters sent, 1865. Letters received, 1865-68. Records of the Pensacola, FL, and Apalachicola, FL, offices, 1865. Records of the Mobile, AL, office, 1865-66. Records relating to cotton transactions, 1865- 66.

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366.11 RECORDS OF U.S. PURCHASING AGENTS (USPA)
1864-65
6 lin. ft.

History: Secretary of the Treasury authorized, by an act of July 2, 1864 (13 Stat. 375), to appoint agents to purchase for the use of the United States products of states in insurrection, paying no more than three-quarters of their market value and drawing upon funds from the sale of captured or abandoned property.

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366.11.1 Records of the U.S. Purchasing Agent at New Orleans, LA

History: USPA O.N. Cutler operated in New Orleans from October 1, 1864, to about July 1, 1865.

Textual Records: Records of products, chiefly cotton, purchased, received, and sold, 1864-65.

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366.11.2 Records of the U.S. Purchasing Agent at Memphis, TN

History: USPA George H. Ellery operated in Memphis from October 5, 1864, to about June 24, 1865. Office known informally as U.S. Cotton Agency.

Textual Records: Records of the purchase, sale, and shipment of cotton, 1864-65. Daily cotton quotation telegrams from New York, January-June 1865. New York and St. Louis cotton quotations ("Daily Record"), December 1864-May 1865.


Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

Ordering information

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.


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