War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 1032 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS- MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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but it is hoped that they may be removed without involving your permanent severance from the army with which you are connected. You will note the intimation ofthe President as to a leave of absence, and exercise your own choice with regard to making application for it.

Very respectfully,

JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War.

HEADQUARTERS CHURCHILL'S DIVISION,

Camp Yell, July 29, 1864.

Lieutenant-Colonel BELTON,

Assistant ADJUTANT- GENERAL:

COLONEL: I would respectfully represent that while in command of my brigade on the 8th of June last I sent a communication to district headquarters stating that Captain Watkins had induced a lieutenant and a number of men from Thomson's regiment, of said brigade, to join a battalion of cavalry which he was raising. I have the names of lieutenant and thirty- three privates,a nd respectfully asked that thy be ordered back to their command; that the lieutenant (McCargo) be put under arrest for inducing men to desert from their command, and that Captain Watkins be ordered to desist recruiting from the absentees of the brigade. To which communication I received the following reply, to wit, Numbers 568:

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,

Camden, July 15, 1864.

GENERAL: In answer to your communication ofthe 8th of this mouth the major- genera commanding directs me to inform you that authority was given by him to Captain R. A. Watkins, Bell's regiment, to recruit a battalion of sharpshooters out of persons subject to conscription in the counties of Pike, Polk, Sevier, Montgomery,and Clark. He was also authorized and directed to arrest all deserters and absentees from their commands in those named counties and to return them to their proper companies, &c. No authority was given him to enlist in the battalion any soldiers already mustered into service and attached to military organization, but was,on the contrary, informed in relation to this subject that the means by which such men could be permitted to join the battalion would be by their being regularly transferred to the same with the consent of their proper commanding officers. All men who may join this battalion in contravention often above will be immediately returned to their proper commands when they shall be brought back by Captain Watkins.

I am, general, &c.,

GEO. A. GALLAGHER.

I thereupon sent an officer to Captain Watkins to procure the men belonging to the brigade. He found the men as mentioned in my communication, but Captain Watkins declined giving them up, asserting his right to hold them under an order from district headquarters, of which the following is a copy, Numbers 570:

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,

Camden, may 28, 1864.

GENERAL; Th major- general commanding has instructed me to inform you that it is his wish that such men as Captain Watkins may induce to join his battalion of sharpshooters he is authorized to raise ne who may be deserters fro your command should be regularly transferred by you to that organization as soon as completed.

I am, general, &c.,

J. F. BELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Upon hearing of this, and learning from the regimental officers that their men continued to leave the command and join Captain Watkins' battalion, I called upon Major Gallagher one day last week, and