US Secty of Treasury Salmon P. Chase sent an agent, Edward Pierce (who supervised the work of contrabands in Virginia), to collect the harvested cotton, in addition to report on the status and conditions of the formerly enslaved residents. During his two-week tour, Pierce checked on the conditions and abilities of the formerly enslaved, reporting back that they should have wages, better food, and education; he also reported that the formerly enslaved were in danger of destitution, as food and clothing were becoming scarce. Sexual assault of formerly enslaved women also became an issue, as Black women had been taught it was a crime to resist white men; the Army needed a better solution.
As a result of Pierce’s report, northern societies and organizations responded with generosity. When Pierce returned to the Sea Islands, he brought with him sixty teachers and superintendents, established schools for the formerly enslaved, and suggested the formation of freedmen’s aid societies. He also oversaw the government’s efforts on the ground to further these efforts, which became known as the Port Royal Experiment.