An act of April 16, 1862 (12 Stat. 376), abolished slavery in the District of Columbia. Under section 3 of the act the President was authorized to appoint a board of three commissioners, who were residents of the District, to examine petitions for compensation from former owners of freed slaves in the District. Pursuant to this act, Daniel R. Goodloe, Horatio King, and Samuel F. Vinton were appointed; in June 1862, however, John M. Broadhead was appointed to replace Mr. Vinton. A clerk of the circuit court served as clerk of the Board.
An act of July 12, 1862 (12 Stat. 538), provided that petitions could be received from slaves whose owners had not presented petitions for compensation. The petitions received under this act were filed separately from those received under the act of April 16.