Correspondence from L. Thomas to Col. E. D. Townsend
August 31, 1863
Col. E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D.C.:
COLONEL: This month closes with but seemingly little done in the way of organization of blacks, but I have not been idle, and now as fast as I can get the negroes they will be enrolled. The first object was to fill up the old regiments, much reduced by deaths, losses in battle, and desertions. A regiment of artillery and one of infantry are about full at Natchez. Lieb's infantry regiment will be changed to artillery and filled to the maximum for the works at this place. Recruiting officers are with the expedition sent from Goodrich's Landing to organize a cavalry regiment to be mounted on mules. A second will then be authorized, also two batteries of artillery. I should state that the negroes have been driven back many miles on both sides of the Mississippi River, and I can only get at them as expeditions are sent out. General Grant is desirous of an interview with General Banks in his contemplated movement. I shall also go to New Orleans to arrange for the organization of the negroes to be secured by the troops. We shall leave this afternoon. I wish to get everything working well on the river before I pay General Rosecrans a visit. Generals Hawkins and Kiernan have both reported and are on duty. The health of the former is entirely restored. Please report me to the Secretary of War.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,