Sparks Notes - Reconstruction (1865Ė1877: http://www.sparknotes.com/history/american/re...<quoted text> General Sherman's land plan was a scam that hoped to incite Southern slave revolts at the end of the Civil War. Sherman had no real authority to give land away to freed slaves. Only a full Congress in session could do that .
"The Freedmenís Bureau
The president and Congress disagreed not only about the best way to readmit southern states to the Union but also about the best way to redistribute southern land. Lincoln, for his part, authorized several of his wartime generals to resettle former slaves on confiscated lands. General William Tecumseh Shermanís Special Field Order No. 15 set aside land in South Carolina and islands off the coast of Georgia for roughly 40,000 former slaves. Congress, meanwhile, created the Freedmenís Bureau in early 1865 to distribute food and supplies, establish schools, and redistribute additional confiscated land to former slaves and poor whites. Anyone who pledged loyalty to the Union could lease forty acres of land from the bureau and then have the option to purchase them several years later."
Lincoln authorized Shermanís orders.