[Auburn, Ala.] April the 5 1866
philip smith has devided with them as long as he can Will the goverment be so pleased to do something to help him to feed them he has A large family to feed and no one to help him and he wish ask help from the Comesary and govement also he has also started A nice little farm and he wishes for the govement let him have feed for his stock Forty bushels of corn and he is wiling to return five hundred pounds of coton just as soom as he can geather the crop he has A nice crop on han but is not Able to cary it father with out help from som one the white will not cred us for any thing and we are not able to pay for it now at present time we labor for them and they will not pay us for our labor and our race will to ruin if some one dont help us
the Colord pople have also surlected preacher Hamel to attend to this Comesary buisness for them he is much loved among the colord race of people and if you Will A sist us will be able and nother year to keep our race our self We have laboring for the White people of [uor] lives kneon nothing elce but we are all free and We Wish anonrable life we wish to make our liveing honestly not to pilfor and steal but to live y up right in the fear of the lord that is our moto
if you would be so pleased to assistanc us please be kind A noff to write to preacher Hamel Auburn Alabama
as soon as you Can posable doso for our race is suf ring for the need of food the old that are not able to help themselvs and alphans Children that have fother nor mother Your obedent servent
Philip Smith Auburn Ala
he has witness A plenty White and black that he is trying to make A Crop and with out a asistance he can not come throug With it
Philip Smith to freedmons buro montgomery Ala, 5 Apr. 1866, Unregistered Letters Received, series 9, AL Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, & Abandoned Lands, Record Group 105, National Archives. Neither a reply to Smith nor a communication to the preacher Hamel has been found in the assistant commissioner's letters-sent volumes.
Land and Labor, 1866–1867, pp. 908–9.