Correspondence to Col. W.H. Taylor - March 15, 1865
CAMP FORTY-NINTH GEORGIA REGIMENT,
Near Petersburg, March 15, 1865.
Col. W.H. Taylor,
SIR: The undersigned, commissioned officers of this regiment, having maturely considered the following plan for recruiting this regiment, and having freely consulted with the enlisted men, who almost unanimously agree to it, respectfully submit it, through you, to the commanding general for his consideration:
First. That our companies be permitted to fill up their ranks with negroes to the maximum number under the recent law of Congress.
Second. That the negroes in the counties of Georgia which our companies hail from be conscribed in such numbers and under such regulations as the War Department may deem proper.
Third. That after the negroes have been so conscribed, an officer or enlisted man from each company be sent home to select from the negro conscripts such who may have owners or may belong to families of whom representatives are in the company, or who, from former acquaintance with the men, may be deemed suitable to be incorporated in those companies.
For the purpose of carrying out more effectually and promptly the plan as indicated under the third head, it is respectfully suggested that each man in the regiment be required to furnish a list of relatives, friends, or acquaintances in his county of whom it is likely that negroes may be conscribed, so as to facilitate the labors of the officer or man who may be detailed to bring the negroes to the regiment.
When in former years, for Pecuniary purposes, we did not consider it disgraceful to labor with negroes in the field or at the same time work bench, we certainly will not look upon it in any other light at this time, then an end so glorious as our independence is to be achieved. We sincerely believe that the adoption throughout our army of the course indicated in the above plan, or something similar to it, will insure a speedy availability of the negro element in our midst for military purposes and create, or rather cement, a reciprocal attachment between the men now in service and the negroes highly beneficial to the service, and which could probably not be otherwise obtained.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servants,
J. T. Jordan, colonel; J. B. Duggan, major; M. Newman, adjutant; L. E. Veal, first lieutenant Company A; L. L. Williams, captain Companies B and G; J. F. Duggan, captain Company C; L. M. Andrews, captain Company D; C. R. Walden, lieutenant Company E; A. G. Brooks, lieutenant Company F; S. J. Jordan, lieutenant Company H; Wm. T. Mullally, captain Company I; R. S. Anderson, captain Company G.
HEADQUARTERS THOMAS' BRIGADE,
March 18, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded. Approved.
EDWARD L. THOMAS,
HEADQUARTERS WILCOX LIGHT DIVISION,
March 21, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded, believing that the method proposed within is the best that can be adopted.
C. M. WILCOX,
HDQRS. THIRD CORPS, ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
March 22, 1865.
The plan proposed is commended as worthy of attention and consideration.
March 27, 1865.
The commanding general commends the spirit displayed by this regiment. The plan of organization which has been regarded most favorably proposed a consolidation of the regiments of ten companies, as they now exist, into six companies, and that the regimental organization be maintained by attaching to the six thus formed four companies of colored troops. Each regiment would then preserve its identity. Perhaps this plan would be equally acceptable to the Forty-ninth Georgia Regiment.
By command of General Lee:
W. H. TAYLOR,
SOURCE: United States War Department. THE WAR OF THE REBELLION: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.