George T. Cook takes some time adjusting to his post in the administration of the Freedmen’s Bureau in Augusta County. In these letters, rations, marriages, the flourishing condition of schools, and taxes, especially those levied for the poor, are all discussed. Of particular note to Cook is the treatment of blacks in the court system. Early in his tenure, Cook notes that some cases “were conducted with impartiality and fairness,” but as more cases are tried, Cook recognizes that blacks cannot receive justice. In the end, Cook believes that the local magistrates are responsible for the unfair treatment of blacks in the court system. He thinks that this is a reflection of the negative attitudes of whites concerning blacks in the area.
In this collection of letters, Cook again focuses on the treatment of blacks in the local court system. As a result of the continued injustice, Cook requests military assistance in keeping the courts free of impartialities. Even though Cook notes improvement in the treatment of blacks in the civil court system, he suggests the return of the Freedmen’s courts. Of particular note is a case involving the murder of an African American by a white law student; the student escapes but is eventually captured. Other issues addressed in these letters are: poll taxes for the poor, the construction of a school building, low wages for blacks, the frequent abuse of blacks by whites, and the struggle of Freedmen to provide for their children.