HEADQUARTERS RESERVE BRIGADE
HEADQUARTERS RESERVE BRIGADE,
In Camp, near Thibodeaux, La., November 5, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that I have your communication of the 2d instant. I think it would be very proper to place a field work at or near Donaldsonville. A permanent work, involving the construction of masonry, would be too slow an operation. I think you had better send Lieutenant [John C.] Palfrey up there to locate and construct It. He could carry on Ship Island and that too. A battery also, I think, would be very appropriate at Berwick Bay. I can direct the position and the construction of this battery. It would not be proper to build a work near here, as the communication with it can be easily cut off, and it could be turned readily. And now I desire, most respectfully, to decline the command of the district which has been just created, and which, as we have not yet secured a foot of ground on the Teche, ought properly to be called the District of the La Fourche. The reason I must decline is because accepting the command would place me in command of all the troops in the district.
I cannot command those negro regiments. The commanding general knows well my private opinions on this subject. What I stated to him privately, while on his staff, I see now before my eyes. Since the arrival of the negro regiments symptoms of servile insurrection are becoming apparent. I could not, without breaking my brigade all up, put a force in every part of this district to keep down such an insurrection. I cannot assume the command of such a force, and thus be responsible for its conduct. I have no confidence in the organization. Its moral effect in this community, which is stripped of nearly all its able-bodied men and will be stripped of a great many of its arms, is terrible. Women and children, and even men, are in terror. It is heart-rending, and I cannot make myself responsible for it. I will gladly go anywhere with my own brigade that you see fit to order me. I beg you therefore to keep the negro brigade directly under your own command or place some one over both mine and it. I have given instructions to collect as much transportation as possible, so that I can cross Berwick Bay with my brigade, and will go down to-morrow in person to hurry up things. I cannot move my brigade there yet, as there is not sufficient drinking water, and this is a better camp.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier General, U. S. Vols., Comdg. Reserve Brigade.
Maj. GEORGE C. STRONG,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Dept. of the Gulf, New Orleans, La.
[Index - Louisiana Native Guards]
Researched and Compiled by
Bennie J. McRae