Correspondence from J. Longstreet to W. H. Taylor - March 30, 1865 (2)
HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS, March 30, 1865.
Col. W. H. Taylor, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Your letter expressing the views of the commander-in-chief in reference to the policy to be pursued in raising negro troops is received. I am apprehensive that we shall have applications and evidence enough to take from us more men than we can well spare at this critical moment in our affairs. It seems to me that any person who has the influence to raise a company or regiment by going home could do so as well by letters to his friends at home. If I am right in this opinion an order announcing that the officers of the companies and regiments of colored troops would be appointed from the officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates on duty with our armies would have the effect of bringing back more absentees than we should lose by making the appointments. If we may judge of our future success in getting up new organizations by the past we may rely upon it that many will furnish the necessary evidence and go home and there remain for eight or ten or twelve months. I think that it would be well to publish a general order explaining more clearly the policy indicated in your letter in order that a better general understanding may exist among the parties who may desire to furnish evidence of their ability to get up new organizations; otherwise I may adopt rules which would not be as favorable to the officers and men of this command as those of other commands.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
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.