HEADQUARTERS COLORED TROOPS
HEADQUARTERS COLORED TROOPS, CAVALRY CORPS,
MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Near Macon, Ga., May 17, 1865.
Maj. E. B. BEAUMONT,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Cavalry Corps, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi:
MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the organization of the colored troops under my command and their march from Selma, Ala., to this place:
On or about the 6th day of April, 1865, at Selma, Ala., orders were received from headquarters Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, authorizing each division commander to recruit one colored regiment, and in compliance with such orders Col. R. H. G. Minty, commanding Second Division, Cavalry Corps, directed me to take charge of and organize the regiment of his division.
On the morning of the 7th of April I commenced recruiting, and by night had succeeded in enlisting over 500 negroes. Eight men were detailed from the division to take charge of the men as they were organized into companies.
The 8th was spent in examining those I had enlisted the day before. Capt. W. G. Young, Ninety-eighth Illinois; Doctor Biggs, Fourth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry; L. C. Remington, Fourth Michigan, acting adjutant, reported to assist me in my work.
On that night I received orders to cross the Alabama River, but a break in the pontoon bridge prevented, and I returned to the barracks, where I had previously been encamped.
On the 9th we drilled some, in order to have the regiment so we could move out in some order when we received orders to do so. On that night we crossed the river and moved out three miles on the Montgomery road, and camped near the division for the night. Next morning Lieut. C. L. Connor, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, reported to me for duty. Moved at 10 a.m. and marched twenty miles, camping near Brandon.
On the 11th I moved out again about noon in advance of train. The roads being very bad, I employed my men in working the road in order to facilitate the passage of the train. Distance marched was twenty miles.
On the 12th I received orders to march in rear of the train, which necessitated a late start, but by marching late at night we were enabled to make a march of twenty miles. The colored regiment of the Fourth Division reported to me on the evening of the 12th, numbering about 500 men.
On the 13th I reached Montgomery, and camped four miles east on the Columbus, Ga., road, having marched fifteen miles.
On the morning of the 14th I procured about 100 Mississippi rifles, but could get no ammunition. Moved about noon and marched late at night, making twenty-five miles. The colored regiment of the First Division reported to me this day, numbering about 400 men.
On the 15th I made twenty miles and camped three miles east of Tuskegee.
On the 16th I moved about 10 a.m., marched very hard all day and until 2 o'clock the morning of the 17th.
On the 17th I reached Columbus, Ga., moved out four miles on the Macon road, and camped, having marched fifteen miles. At this place I procured a lot of clothing and arms. Most of the arms were given to the regiment belonging to the First Division, which was ordered to report this eve to the quartermaster of that division. Our march all the way from Selma to Columbus was over the worst of roads, made' almost impassable by the passage of the entire command and all the trains. The number of men were constantly increasing, so that when I reached Columbus my regiment alone numbered 1,400 men, of whom about 1,200 men were mounted on horses and mules, turned over daily by the division to me. Great difficulty was experienced in procuring provisions for these men and forage for the animals, and it was only by the utmost diligence that sufficient could be obtained.
I moved at daylight on the morning of the 18th, and camped at 12 o'clock at night at Flint River, having marched forty miles.
Next day made fifteen miles, camping five miles east of Thomasville.
On the 20th I made another hard day's march of thirty miles, and camped within fifteen miles of this place.
Next day I reached this place with 2,700 men belonging to my regiment and the regiment of the Fourth Division. In compliance with orders received from the brevet major-general commanding Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, on the 24th and 25th of April the men were examined by the surgeon and the regiments each reduced to 1,000 men.
On the 1st of May, in compliance with orders received from headquarters Cavalry Corps, each regiment reported to their division commanders. My regiment is progressing finely in discipline and the drill. We have 950 stand of arms and 450 sets of accouterments. The officers are well supplied with tents, and the men have tents and sheds sufficient to cover them and protect them from the inclemency of the weather, and will do very well until better shelter can be obtained. The greater portion of them are very well clothed in rebel uniforms. The most difficult part of the organization of the colored troops was that of subsistence, as we were compelled to subsist entirely upon the country, and when we take into consideration that a large cavalry force were constantly in our advance, nearly clearing the whole country of subsistence, it made the procuring of rations for the regiments a difficult matter indeed, which was only accomplished by industry and perseverance on the part of officers and men of the command.
I cannot speak in terms of too high praise of the officers and men that were ordered to report to me to assist in the organization of the regiment. To them is due great praise for the energy and efficiency evinced on all occasions, ever at their posts at all times, doing their whole duty. To Lieut. L. C. Remington, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, acting adjutant; Captain Young, Ninety-eighth Illinois Volunteers; Lieutenant Connor, Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry; Doctor Biggs, Fourth Ohio Cavalry, I am greatly indebted for their industry, energy, and faithful performance of their whole duty.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
- MARTIN ARCHER,
- Major, Commanding Colored Troops.