Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.


NATCHEZ, MISS., July 20, 1864.

Asst. Adjt. Gen., Military Division of West Mississippi :

Arriving here on the evening of the 11th instant, I immediately proceeded to the performance of the duty assigned me, and commenced by examining the lines of fortifications by which the place is guarded, and which were constructed under the orders of the engineer officer attached to headquarters, superior to the commander of this post.
It is my opinion that it was an error to waste the large force of troops which have heretofore been kept for the occupation of this place. The garrison is smaller now than it has been previously, but were it not that such large works had been constructed here it ought to be still further decreased and the surplus troops sent into the field. I do not appreciate the necessity of our holding Natchez by military occupation further than by overawing it with gun-boats. If it is not necessary, then the whole garrison of 5,000 is wasted. If it is necessary, such a small fort should have been constructed as would have commanded the town from directions where gun-boats could not reach, and at the same time preserved its communication with the water, and should have been built compactly and strongly, and been calculated for a garrison not to exceed 1,500 men. The works which have been constructed cover a great deal of ground; have destroyed large amounts of valuable improved property, and cannot be securely and properly manned by less than 10,000 men. It is not at all probable a sufficient force of the enemy could assault this place so as to make it necessary to hold the works with a full garrison. If it were, the only alternative would be to increase the garrison or to demolish the works so that an enemy could not occupy them, and then construct such as are suitable for a small garrison. There is an interior work which of itself is large enough for 1,500 men, if assailed, and which might be sufficient for the holding of the place if the outer and very exterior works, on which great labor and expense have been lavished, were leveled. With the force I propose leaving here I believe the bastions of the outer works can be held against such force as would probably be brought against them, and if forced the garrison could withstand a siege and make successful sorties from the inner work. The effective force now here is about 5,000, of which about 1,850 are white. The latter are the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, and Battery K, Second Illinois Artillery. The colored troops are the Sixth U.S. Heavy Artillery (Colored), the Fifty-eighth U.S. Infantry (Colored), nine companies of the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth U.S. Infantry (Colored), two companies of the Seventieth U.S. Infantry (Colored), and seven companies of the Seventy-first U.S. Infantry (Colored). I inspected all these troops in marching order, and found many of them, especially the white infantry troops and the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth U.S. Infantry (Colored), in indifferent condition as to arms, accouterments, discipline, instruction, competency of officers, &c. In the former many were deficient in bayonets, some without cartridge-boxes, many with unserviceable ones, some were entirely unarmed, and this latter was also especially the case in the cavalry, who, with an aggregate present at the post of about 900, report only 220 serviceable horses, 460 serviceable carbines, 422 serviceable revolvers, and 490 serviceable sabers.
The artillery, although under good instruction and discipline, is entirely deficient in horses, having a four-gun battery, and only horses enough to move the pieces without caissons, battery wagon, or forge. I found eleven four-horse teams in the cavalry command, and as the horses were reported unserviceable for cavalry, and I judged them fit for artillery, I ordered them to be turned over to it. Many horses are also in possession of the depot quartermaster, some in possession of officers and of temporarily mounted troops of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (Colored). I have ordered these to be turned over to the cavalry, and the commanding officer has also seized all serviceable horses in this city and vicinity. There are also at the post cavalry arms and equipments to outfit about 100 men. It is supposed that by these means the greater part of the cavalry regiment will be made serviceable. There are enough arms and equipments in depot here to furnish all the infantry who are at present unequipped; the fact of their being in their present condition is attributable only to neglect of duty on the part of the officers. It is not to be concealed that the frequent change of commanders, and the neglect of one of them at least (Brigadier-General Tuttle, lately resigned), whose attention is represented to have been engrossed by efforts for personal gain, has operated to effect a destruction of discipline and order in the command which has resulted in all the evils and abuses consequent on relaxation, and on men following the example of unworthy officers. It is expected that Brigadier-General Brayman, who has now assumed command of the post, will be undisturbed in his command, and that his efforts to reduce things to system, order, regularity, and wholesome restraint, both with regard to troops and disloyal persons, will be seconded and sustained by all his superiors; and that appeals against his authority, decisions, and orders, coming as they will from the loose and dissolute, and from the crowd of sharpers who, swelling with professed patriotism, whilst managing to fill their own pockets by dishonest means, will not be listened to or entertained. From my observations of the characteristics of the new commander, I feel sure that if left permanently here and made somewhat independent he will succeed in reforming very many abuses and corruptions, and prevent the occurrence of new ones. I have mentioned Brigadier-General Tuttle--he has resigned--and as his administration here occurred prior to the Military Division of West Mississippi I have not thought proper to take testimony as to his conduct; but it has been offered to me here, and the whole community is filled with open talk of his having enriched himself by collusion with an agent of the Treasury Department and by constant malfeasance in office. I am informed by General Brayman's assistant adjutant-general that Capt. Lorenzo Thomas, jr., First U.S. Artillery, can produce at least ten witnesses residing here, who will make affidavit to having paid Tuttle many thousands of dollars; and, if it was thought desirable still to pursue the investigation, evidence can undoubtedly be had here in  abundance, if not of the payment of large sums of money directly to him personally, at least of much malfeasance in his administration and the payment of large sums to persons in his confidence for the release, at different times, of persons and property held under arrest by him under frivolous pretenses or by an arbitrary exercise of will. In my investigations of the affairs of the provost-marshal I discover that between the 5th of April and the 20th of. May Brigadier-General Tuttle, by his orders and receipts, drew from Lieut. J. H. Parker, his local provost-marshal, about all the funds he had, $6,300, and said that he owed it for secret service. Colonel Farrar, his successor, used in a like period only $125. The latter understood from General Tuttle that $900 was to be paid by him to a man for carrying dispatches from here to Major-General Banks at Alexandria; but it was subsequently discovered that the money was not paid, for the man demanded it (after Tuttle left here), in accordance with his promise. It is believed that Tuttle carried this money with him and has not rendered any account of it to the proper authority. I mention these matters in order that if it is thought advisable to pursue the investigation of Tuttle's affairs now that he has left the service, proper measures may be taken secretly to send a suitable person here and elsewhere to collect evidence for the case. I confess my want of experience and aptitude for that kind of work. The case should be prepared with care by an experienced practitioner. The Treasury agent, Hart, with whom he is said to have been in collusion, has been arrested by military authority; and he confessed and confided to Judge Barnet, his successor, and to others, his connection with Tuttle and the extent of the swindling operations in which he reports they were jointly engaged; but notwithstanding that, he (Hart) has been released at Vicksburg, and his bonds here canceled by an order from a lieutenant on the staff of Major-General Slocum, commanding the district, who is acting judge-advocate. I do not know whether General Slocum, who at the time was absent in the field, was cognizant of the fact at the time of the issuing of this order. I am informed that Hart paid over to Lieutenant Sabin, the judge-advocate, about $6,000 for the purpose of compromising with certain parties who had been swindled by Hart's operations, wherein he claimed to have divided the plunder with Tuttle, and on doing that he was allowed to go; but the amounts fraudulently obtained by these parties are supposed to be thirty times the amount of the ransom money exacted.
I now proceed to specify in as few words as possible the condition of the different organizations as they appeared at inspection. I have given orders for the correction of the various irregularities and deficiencies as I discovered them.
Inspected at 5 p.m. July 14 the Twenty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Aggregate effective strength at this place, 490. Had returned from veteran furlough only four days. Inspected unexpectedly and were in bad order. Some men were entirely unequipped. General Orders, Nos. 4, 5 1/2, 6, and 7, had never been seen or heard of by them, and therefore they had not complied with them. Arms in bad order; many bayonets lost; clothing pretty good. Officers generally very indifferent as to tone, instruction, and bearing. Discipline lax; drill indifferent; knapsacks heavily packed. They had eight six-mule wagons, seven of which were filled with baggage, and one with hospital stores, and one two-mule team.
Inspected at 6.30 p.m. July 14 Battery K, Second Illinois Artillery. Two officers and ninety-two effective men at the post; four ordnance guns; no horses for the caissons; only twelve serviceable horses, the remainder unserviceable. They had three six-mule teams; harness very old and rotten, and should be replaced by new. Instruction good.
Inspected at 6 a.m. July 15 the Twenty-ninth Illinois Veteran Infantry. All the re-enlisted veterans (aggregate 345) are home on furlough and will not return for about five weeks, Aggregate effective men at the post, 381. They knew nothing about Orders 4, 5 1/2, 6, and 7, except one officer in the regiment who had seen No. 4 somewhere, therefore there were no preparations under it. Arms of one company in very fine order, remainder in good firing order; many bayonets gone; clothing ordinary; some cartridge-boxes. Knapsacks, canteens, and haversacks wanting. Discipline tolerable, considering the absence of so many officers; manual good. They had eight six-mule wagons, which were old and much worn, but all the animals at the post are in fine condition.
Inspected at 8 a.m. July 15 the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. Aggregate effective force here, 806. Only 220 serviceable horses; 290 unserviceable. Many men unequipped and unarmed; clothing tolerably good; discipline and general condition good. There is no suitable drill ground here and therefore the regiment is not well drilled. Many recruits were never yet mounted. They had eleven four-horse teams, one two-horse team, eight four-mule teams and one six-mule team. There were 8 public horses in possession of officers, viz, Captain Wallace, 2; Captain Smith, 2; Captain Wardlaw, 2; Lieutenant Allshouse, 1; Captain Hitt, 1.
Inspected at 5 p.m. July 15 the Fifty-eighth U.S. Infantry (Colored). Aggregate effective strength at the post, 674. They were armed with new Springfield muskets, and they were in fine condition. A few cartridge-boxes and bayonet scabbards were wanting, but otherwise the equipment was good. Many haversacks and canteens wanting, owing to articles having been destroyed in the post hospital. Sanitary condition good; discipline good; instruction fair; officers good. As soon as it can be relieved from its constant fatigue and working parties on fortifications, &c., and can have time for instruction and drill, it promises to make a fine regiment. It had three six-mule teams and two four-mule teams.
Inspected at 6 a.m. July 16 the Sixth U.S. Heavy Artillery (Colored). Aggregate, effective strength at this place, 1,107. In about the same condition as the Fifty-eighth. They had two 12-pounder howitzers with horses and equipment, in addition to their infantry arms. Five six-mule teams.
Inspected at 9 a.m. July 16 the Seventy-first U.S. Infantry (Colored). Aggregate effective strength at the post, 283. There are seven companies, one of which is yet new and not armed. This is an incomplete regiment and promises to be a good one. It was in good condition and discipline and performed the manual well. Sanitary condition good and quarters in good order. The fatigue and working parties called for from the regiment are so large and frequent that it has but little opportunity to drill.
Inspected at 5 p.m. July 16 the Seventieth U.S. Infantry (Colored). Aggregate effective strength at the post, 139. This is a new regiment and has only two companies as yet. They are good ones and may be remarked as the same as the Seventy-first.
Inspected on the 14th and 16th of July the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth U.S. Infantry (Colored). This is an inefficient detachment of nine companies from two regiments. Aggregate strength at the post, 630. Many useless soldiers, old, crippled, sick, and unserviceable. In poor condition, and they ought to be broken up and the good material put into some other regiments, whilst the worthless is discharged as a burden to the service. On the next page is a copy of the order (*) which calls one of them into existence, and it has been stated to me that the good material is to be transferred by General Thomas, and the unserviceable is to be formed into the "invalid corps." I will remark that it has been unofficially stated to me, but whether with foundation in fact or not I am unable to say, that it is expected that Capt. Lorenzo Thomas, jr., First U.S. Artillery, is to be colonel of it. Who is to be entitled to the credit of originating the idea of collecting broken-down and unserviceable negroes into a body and calling it an "invalid corps" I do not know; but it appears to me that the Secretary of War could not have understood the character of the intended organization. Captain Thomas stated to me that the original intention had been partly frustrated by the officers of the regiment fraudulently inducing many of their worthless privates to desert and filling their places by able-bodied men under the same name, and that it is the intention of General Thomas to transfer these able-bodied men to other regiments and recruit again from "invalids." The officers report that they have now many men who are unfit for service. If the above idea is carried out no real service need be expected from the organization. They have been used as plantation guards, five companies at a point eight miles from here, and four companies at another point three miles from here. The detachments are in bad condition and indifferently officered. I have ordered them both to be withdrawn, as will be seen by the accompanying copy of a letter(+) of instructions to Brigadier-General Brayman.
When I visited the plantation at which the detachment of four companies was stationed, eight miles from here, I was informed by Captain Howell, then temporarily in command, that it was leased and occupied by a Mr. Barnet, and that the mules which worked it belonged to the United States and were taken from the "Home Plantation," so called; also that he has seen farming implements, harness, &c., marked "Home Plantation" in use there, and that the rations fed to the hands are the same, including hard bread, as are furnished by the Government to the hands of the "Home Plantation," which was also under the superintendence of a Mr. Barnet. I do not know that this is a matter of interest in military circles, but as the farms are not distant from each other I think proper to mention it as one of the items of public information involving the action of officials, which are stirred to the surface by constant talk in the community here in regard to the general habit of sharp practice carried on in this valley at the expense of our bleeding and exhausted Government and to the defamation of the characters of such civil and military officers as have a right to claim exemption from the general suspicion of corruption. At the risk of being considered meddlesome in a matter over which I have not an exclusive charge, by special instruction, and of differing in opinion with a soldier much older and more experienced than I am, I repeat my opinion that the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth U.S. Infantry (Colored), commonly known here as the "Invalids," should be broken up by the discharge of all officers who are unsuitable and all men not able-bodied, and that the remainder be transferred to fill up other good regiments. As I have mentioned a plantation above, which is leased to the son of a civil officer here, I deem it my duty also to refer to another, one of the best in the country, which, being occupied by a son of the Adjutant-General of the Amy, has caused much talk and many rumors and reports here. It is unfortunate that an officer of the army should have the most distant appearance of being indirectly interested in affairs of profit and gain, especially when his duties connect him so closely with the source of profit and the control of its increase or diminution as to enable suspicious persons to circulate rumors of his having aided, in any way, by favor or official countenance, the success of the venture. Whilst it is my delicate duty to allude to this, and still more in the sequel to report some particulars, I refrain from repeating all that I have heard in the shape of common rumor. This much I must say, however, as it can be easily ascertained whether or not it is a fact, the Adjutant-General has had for months at his sole disposal a steamboat called the Rocket. It is not my duty to question the propriety of such an expenditure, for it certainly must be warranted by competent authority, but there are reports of the boat having been run and used when public necessity did not demand it, and that she, at least on one occasion, has brought supplies, farming tools, &c., to the plantation alluded to.
I beg to ask particular attention to my letter of instructions to Briga-dier-General Brayman. The important general orders and circulars alluded to had never been acted on previous to General Brayman's arrival here. Most of the officers had never heard of them. I have selected the Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry and the Fifty-eighth U.S. Infantry (Colored) as the disposable reserve force here. This gives now an aggregate effective force of 1,055, and when the Twenty-ninth returns from furlough it will be increased to 1,400 men. As the Seventieth and Seventy-first Regiments become filled up, and the Fourth Illinois Cavalry becomes complete in its arms and equipments and mount, a still further draft could be taken from here. After the cavalry regiment is fit for the field I advise the sending of a regiment of cavalry about 400 strong, and that this one, 900 strong, be put in the field. The steam-boat Brazil, a chartered boat, was here. She is capable of carrying only about half the reserve, but the Altamont, a Government boat, has arrived to-day to relieve her by the order of Col. Lewis B. Parsons. I have directed that both boats shall be kept till other arrangements shall be made. In regard to the fourth paragraph of your instructions, whatever great abuses have existed heretofore, there are no rumors or accusations, so far as I am able to discover, against either of the present incumbents or against Colonel Farrar, the last commander, but prior to that it is not to be doubted that the corruption was appalling. Swindling to a great extent is reported to have been practiced, oppression and blackmailing was said to be common, and whether by the greedy desire of gain or the base yielding to weakness before the influence of female charms and beauty, or both, it is certain supplies in large amounts were carried into the enemy's country beyond our lines. They still continue to go, but in much more limited quantities. Yet the present amount is almost incredible to persons whose senses have not become blunted by the habit of witnessing the post trade. At this position alone during the past eight weeks $118,000 have been carried out. I have not been able to discover that any other authority is held by the provost-marshal or commanding officer than paragraph II of General. Orders, No. 4, of Major-General Slocum, hereto annexed.(*)
You will see by my letter of instructions to Brigadier-General Bray-man that I have communicated the orders of the major-general commanding the division forbidding further operations of this kind. In regard to persons being passed through the lines without taking the oath of allegiance, I discover five passes or special permits to have been given to ladies continuously from the 5th of May till now, by Major McKee, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, provost-marshal of the district of Vicksburg. One of these papers also includes a special permission to take out all supplies which she needs for the family to which she belongs without having an approval at the headquarters of the post. The ladies are Miss Mary Buckner, Miss Alice Jenkins, Mrs. Dunbar, Miss Mary Ker, Miss Ophelia Meyers; also Frank Surget, who refused to take the oath of allegiance, was given an unlimited pass, signed by Brig. Gen. L. Thomas, Adjutant-General, by order of the Secretary of War. Lieutenant Parker, assistant provost-marshal, reports also that Adjutant-General Thomas, in April, gave to one Elijah Smith, a citizen who had not taken the oath of allegiance, the countersign for the day. A lady of high position and great accomplishment, Mrs. Hampton Elliott, after having been repeatedly refused permit to leave the district by the commanding officer and provost-marshal, because she refused to take the oath, was granted a permit by Capt. Lorenzo Thomas, jr., First Artillery, aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant-General, and left the post without the knowledge of the proper authorities. The pass read as follows:

NATCHEZ, MISS., July 8, 1864.
Mrs. Elliott has permission to go to any place in the United States with her two sons. Her trunk and baggage will not be subject to inspection or search.
By order of the Secretary of War:


Captain First Artillery, Aide-de-Camp.

The commanding officer on discovering the fact arrested Captain Thomas and sent him to report to Major-General Slocum, at Vicksburg, and at the same time wrote a dispatch to the adjutant-general of the District of Vicksburg explaining the case. Captain Thomas arrived at Vicksburg in the absence of General Slocum, and was released by his adjutant-general and sent back here. The communication of the commanding officer has not been replied to. A copy is hereto annexed,(*) and I ask special attention to it. General Thomas at the time was not within a thousand miles of this place. As I mentioned before, a brother of Captain Thomas occupies as lessee one of the finest plantations in this vicinity, and the commissary of subsistence, Captain Whitney, reports that Captain Thomas has at different times procured from the subsistence stores here for the use of the army, four barrels of whisky and one box of candles for plantation use. On drawing the supplies he has signed the following certificate:
I certify that I require the following named subsistence stores for the use of myself and mess, and none others.
He states that his father, General Thomas, told him to get the whisky for that purpose. Captain Whitney reports also that on one occasion he gave an order on the commissary for a barrel of whisky and signed it "By order of the Secretary of War," with the same authentication that Mrs. Elliott's pass had.
General Thomas is still in the North. Captain Thomas says that his father particularly directed him to sign passes in that way in his absence. I do not doubt that the Secretary of War has authorized General Thomas to use his name in giving orders in the specific duty in which he is engaged, in the organization of negro troops, but I must be permitted to doubt the fact of the authority having been granted to use such a liberty in granting special privileges and liberties and taking special jurisdiction whenever his judgment may dictate, in matters within the commands of regularly assigned commanders, thus overriding their authority, and in fact assuming a superior command not proper for a staff officer to attempt to exercise.. I doubt the propriety of yielding to such a claim of the general to give special orders and permits, which he has done in many and peculiar instances, in particular cases, when it is obvious and certain that he never consulted the Secretary on the point or received any authority from him. Still more must I doubt that the Secretary entertains the idea that General Thomas delegates to a young officer on his staff when he is a thousand miles away the privilege and power of placing his name at the bottom of an order to override the authority of a commanding officer, and grant privileges to persons of undoubted disloyalty, who impertinently and defiantly refuse to acknowledge allegiance to the Government which protects, favors, and supports them. At all events, it is not to be imagined that the astonishment of the Secretary of War would not be great at the discovery of his name at the bottom of a pass to procure a barrel of whisky from the commissary store for use on a private plantation. I have mentioned these matters plainly because I believe these abuses contain the seeds of dangerous growth. The annoyances of commanders are great at such interferences, if they are not warranted by proper authority, and if they are, then it is proper they should be relieved of their perplexities when cases arise, the propriety of which they honestly doubt, by the publication of the authority which General Thomas exercises whilst he is absent from the seat of Government, and is not in reality performing the duties, though he may fill the place of Adjutant-General.
The quartermaster's department of the post was examined into by me, but the incumbent has just entered on his duties. His predecessor was sent away suddenly in arrest, and Captain Peree has arrived here in his absence, and entered into possession and commenced labor by inventory, &c. The number of persons and articles hired was verified and is considered large for the post, but it is being reduced by Captain Perce. He has now in all 107. Since I have been here a boat load of hay has arrived in disgraceful condition, showing negligence at some point above here.
The arrangements and accounts of the commissary department are neat and complete, and the duty very efficiently administered. Having heard very much to arouse my suspicions I have looked very scrutinizingly into his affairs, especially of fresh beef, by repeated examinations without discovering abuses which were supposed to exist. For one matter I have given him reproof and admonition. A man by the name of Paul has been permitted to go outside the lines and collect cattle by theft, and has brought them in and received pay for them in large amounts, when it was known that the cattle could not be his own property. Whisky, from the subsistence department, is more plentifully used here than it ought to be, upward of 500 gallons having been sold to officers during the month of June, and about the same amount issued to the troops. The ordnance department here is well supplied and in excellent order; it does credit to the officer in charge.
I submit this report with the consciousness that there is much evil to unmask, which I cannot discover to view. An aptitude, an experience, and great length of time are necessary; these necessary requisites are not mine. I have every desire to "hold the mirror up," but think that several officers of proper qualifications should pursue laboriously and slowly the investigations of the matters indicated if it is thought best. By a sufficient process Judge Hart, who has been compelled to make some disclosures to save himself, and has been allowed apparently to go free, can be followed to Saint Louis, where it is understood he has invested his money, and can be so placed again in jeopardy as to compel him to disclose all he knows, not only with regard to General Tuttle, but others whose peculations have been concerned in trade stores, &c. A long course of evil practices by cunning men makes it necessary that smaller fields of work should be assigned to a greater number of officers, who could patiently pursue their purpose without feeling that they were remaining away from duties which are awaiting their attention elsewhere. As for myself, it is not my purpose to originate charges or to attempt to prove and substantiate reports which are public talk and common as the daily news, but I have merely in a general way endeavored to point out the way, in obeying the instructions I have received, to "unmask much of the evil that has so long existed under official sanction on the river." I intend to proceed to Vicksburg by the first boat, and if the course I have pursued does not meet the entire approbation of the major-general commanding I trust I may receive full particulars at that point by return of mail.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. J. T. DANA,
[Inclosure No. 1.]
November 5, 1863.

I. Col. John Eaton, jr., of Ninth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers of African Descent, is hereby authorized to raise a second regiment of colored troops in the Department of Tennessee, to be designated the Seventh Regiment Louisiana Volunteers of African Descent. The regiment will be composed of such men as may be incapacitated for active service in the field, but who are otherwise fitted for ordinary garrison duty. Colonel Eaton is authorized to recruit for this regiment in any of the camps for colored people within the department, including Arkansas. Commanding officers are directed to facilitate him in his endeavors to fill up this regiment with as little delay as possible.
By order of Secretary of War:

[Inclosure No. 2. ]
Natchez, Miss., July 9, 1864.
Lieut. Col. H. C. RODGERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General:
COLONEL: I have the honor to call your attention to the fact that Mrs. Elliott, a lady of prominence in this community, and her two sons, residents of this city, after failing to obtain a pass from these headquarters�13 R R--VOL XXXIX, PT II� to leave the district by reason of not taking the oath of allegiance as prescribed by existing orders, was permitted to go North upon a pass issued by Captain Thomas, First Artillery, aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. L. Thomas, Adjutant-General, which pass was written in the following language:

NATCHEZ, MISS. July 8, 1864.
Mrs. Elliott has permission to go to any place in the United States with her two sons. Her trunk and baggage will not be subject to inspection or search.
By order of the Secretary of War.


Captain First Artillery, Aide-de-Camp.

I feel satisfied that Captain Thomas was cognizant of the fact that this pass had been repeatedly requested at these headquarters and as often positively refused upon the ground stated above, and that his action in giving it without the sanction of this office was a direct violation of orders governing this command. I further question his authority to sign by order of the Secretary of War, and, believing that his course is prejudicial to the interests of the command and subversive of every rule prescribed by the general commanding for its governance, I have ordered him to report to you in arrest, for such action as the commanding general may think proper.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 3.]
Natchez, Miss., July 9, 1864.

* * * * * * * * * *
III. Capt. L. Thomas, First Artillery, U.S. Army, aide-de-camp, is hereby directed to proceed forthwith to Vicksburg, Miss., to report in arrest to Major-General Slocum, commanding that district. Quartermaster's department will furnish necessary transportation.
By command of B. G. Farrar, colonel commanding:

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure No. 4.]
NATCHEZ, MISS., July 19, 1864.
Commanding Sub-District of Natchez:

Having, under special instructions from the major-general commanding the Military Division of West Mississippi, completed an inspection of the troops, &c., under your immediate command, I have now to communicate to you the following views and instructions from him. The command, over which you have within a very few days assumed control, has not been found in good order and condition, and exhibits a lack of system, which can but be the result of negligence and carelessness under some former commander. It is not doubted that the evident zeal and ability you bring to your work will speedily repair all defects and reform all abuses. Whilist the quartermaster's department appears  to hold in depot a sufficient supply of haversacks, canteens, and all other equipments, and the ordnance department a sufficiency of arms and accouterments, there are many men in the ranks without canteens, haversacks, bayonets, even muskets, cartridge-boxes, &c. More particularly were the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry Regiments, and the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, deficient, whilst at the same time extra supplies of the same articles were, with the exception of saber-belts, to be found at the quartermaster's and ordnance depots. Large fatigue parties have been required from the regiments by the quartermasters department at the time when the quartermaster had a force of forty or fifty laborers for that purpose. Even the streets and gutters of the city have been habitually cleaned by U.S. soldiers, whereas this work should have been done by civil or military prisoners, or by hired labor paid for by the city. Soldiers have also been supplied as clerks to the Treasury and Post-Office Departments, and some are even now so employed. It is only necessary to invite your attention to such abuses to be sure of reform. The very important General Orders, numbered 4, 5 1/2, 6, and 7, and the circular of June 27, from headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, and Circular No. 1 from the inspector-general of the same, so far from having been acted on or complied with here, appear, prior to your arrival, not even to have been distributed. Your immediate and close attention is called to all of these papers, and you are instructed to see that the requirements of them are, in every respect, carefully and efficiently carried out. The reserve force at this post, under General Orders, No. 4, will for the present be composed of the Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry and the Fifty-eighth U.S. Infantry (colored). All details from these regiments for extra or special service at depots, hospitals, &c., will at once be relieved and the men sent to their regiments and companies. You will cause these troops, in addition to their usual reports, immediately to report direct to division headquarters, as required by General Orders, No. 7, and you will provide and keep in reserve for this prompt movement the boats ordered in General Orders, No. 6, and these troops will be constantly held in readiness to move by land or water at an hour's notice. The garrison for the defense of this place will then consist of the Twenty-eighth Illinois Infantry, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Battery K, Second Illinois Artillery; the Sixth U.S. Colored Artillery (heavy), nine companies of the Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth U.S. Infantry (colored), and the incomplete regiments of colored troops organizing here, viz, the Seventieth and Seventy-first U.S. Infantry (colored). You will immediately proceed to organize and add to the garrison for defense in case of attack, all detached officers and men on duty at the place; all convalescents and all other persons who are subject to the Rules and Articles of War. The requirements of circular of May 27, from headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, have not been met here. The detachment of four small companies of inefficient colored troops at Marengo, eight miles from here, and of five companies of the same at Lake Concordia, three miles from here, have been exposed to sudden attack, and beyond the reach of immediate support. These troops will be withdrawn, and a force, not to exceed 300, will be retained at the fort at Vidalia for the protection of the district of leased plantations in its vicinity. The remainder of the force now on the west bank of the Mississippi River, opposite here, will remove to this side to strengthen your garrison, weakened by the troops above designated for field service. This whole garrison, together with the reserve force, whenever it is here, will of course be subject to be called on, by active movement, to afford all the protection in its power to all leased plantations within the limits of your command, whenever it can be done without unreasonable risk of disaster. A co-operation of the gun-boats with the troops of this garrison will secure the safety of leased plantations within the above limits, as fully as it is believed it can be done, without disregarding the requirements of paragraphs 1 and 3 of the circular of June 27.
The trade regulations provided by the President of the United States, which prohibit any supplies whatever, however limited, from leaving your lines, have been habitually and to a great extent disregarded here' Although the local provost-marshal reports that within a few weeks the quantity of supplies passed beyond the line is very greatly less than it was previously, still his records show that within the last eight weeks upward of $118,000 worth of supplies have been passed through. That the enemy have been freely supplied through our lines on the Mississippi River is notorious, and thereby great opportunities have been afforded to treacherous persons for fraud or corruption. Natchez has played her part in this iniquity. You will see that the lines of your command are hermetically sealed, so that no supplies of any kind shall in future escape beyond them, and in event of your being overruled by superior authority by the granting of a special permit or a special order passing goods beyond your lines, you will immediately report all the circumstances of the case, with the fullest explanations and comments, direct to the headquarters of the Military Division of West Mississippi. Whilst it is not discovered that special permits have been granted by the local authorities within the limits of your command for persons to go in and out of the lines who have not taken the oath of allegiance, it is known that permits of that description, some of which are now in force, and have been renewed from time to time, are in possession of females residing here. These permits, so far as ascertained, emanate from Major McKee, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, provost-marshal of the District of Vicksburg, and are given for thirty days at a time. Among others are the following: Miss Mary Buckner, Miss Alice Jenkins, Mrs. Dunbar, Miss Mary Ker, Miss Ophelia Meyers. One of them at least contains authority also to carry supplies without reference to the headquarters of the command. It is directed that all permits such as are above described, emanating from whatever source, be immediately revoked and annulled, and that no more, under any circumstances, be issued.
As I am without a staff or clerks here, you will very much oblige me by furnishing me immediately two fair copies of this paper, in order that I may send one to Major-General Canby, and hand the other to Major-General Slocum.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully,

Major-General and Special Inspector.


Category: | Subcategory: | Tags: Mississippi , Tennessee , Louisiana , Kansas , Illinois
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