Special Field Orders, No. 15, 2018

61 x 122 cm, oil on canvas

Special Field Orders, No. 15 (series 1865) were military orders issued on January 16, 1865, by General William T. Sherman. They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres of land along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and the dividing of it into parcels of not more than 40 acres on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 formerly enslaved families and other Blacks then living in the area. They were revoked in the fall of that same year by President Andrew Johnson. Although mules are not mentioned in the orders, they were a main source for the expression "forty acres and a mule."

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