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On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas. Granger was a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican-American War who had distinguished himself in the American Civil War commanding Union troops at the Battle of Chickamauga. On this day, Gen. Granger arrived to assume command of U.S. Army forces in the Department of Texas. Shortly after Gen. Granger’s arrival in Texas, he stood on the balcony of the historic Ashton Villa home (new Texas headquarters of the U.S. Army) and read aloud General Order No. 3:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

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