service of the United States, under the direction of the superintendent of recruiting service for U. S. colored troops. The several parish provost-marshals will be furnished by the superintendent of negro labor with lists of the employers and the number of men to be taken from each, taking as a basis the registers on file at this office. The above provost-marshals will cause the men thus designated to be produced at their respective officers at such times as may be hereafter indicated, and will deliver them to the properly authorized recruiting officers to be forwarded, under proper escort, to the recruiting rendezvous at New Orleans. Recruits thus obtained and accepted by examining surgeons will be assigned to regiments retained under the order above cited. Rejected recruits will be furnished with certificates of exemption and returned to their employers. In all cases where planters have failed to comply with paragraph VII, General Orders, Numbers 23, current series, all able-bodied men of color in their employ will be taken by the parish provost-marshals and forwarded to the recruiting rendezvous for examination. In order that mechanics whose services are indispensable to their employers may be retained, one-fifth of the men liable to conscription under this order will be exempted, it being left to the discretion of the provost-marsha, and the employer which of them to exempt. If consistent with the interest of Government and the defense of the Department of the Gulf, at the time the crops now under cultivation become ready for harvesting, the laborers taken from the various plantations under this order will be temporarily returned.
By command of Major-General Banks:
GEORGE B. DRAKE,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, OFFICE CHIEF OF ARTY.,
New Orleans, August 2, 1864.
ASST. ADJT. General, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF:
SIR: In view of the reduced strength, caused by the expiration of the term of service of enlisted men and want of discipline and efficiency incident thereto, of six batteries formerly attached to the Thirteenth Army Corps, I would respectfully submit the following recommendations: That the Second and Sixteenth Ohio Batteries, Batteries A and E, Second Illinois Light Artillery, and Batteries A and F, First Missouri Light Artillery be temporarily united into three companies until such time as their strength will again permit of an independent organization of each.
I am, sir, your very obedient servant,
Brigadier General and Chief of Artillery, Department of the Gulf.
DONALDSONILLE, August 2, 1864-8.45 p. m.
Major G. B. DRAKE,
Major Shaw, at Plaquemine, says the rumor is very current among the citizens that the force that crossed the Atchafalaya about a week ago had recrossed and were retiring. All quiet there.
W. O. FISKE,