HEADQUARTERS CAMP, Blackshear, Ga., December 7, 1864.
General J. H. WINDER, Commissary-General of Prisons:
GENERAL: I have been in a state of uncertainty ever since I came here, and have written several times in hope to find your headquarters, but failed. I telegraphed Augusta several times, but have received no reply. This morning's telegram is the first indication of where you were. I experienced great trouble with prisoners by having at one time three trains broken down between Savannah and this place, and great difficulty in obtaining supplies. Captain West did not report here until about the 1st of December. Many of the prisoners who arrived in Savannah after I left that place were some paroled and sent to the enemy's ships, others forwarded to Florence, none of whom have been reported to me, and in consequence I am unable to account for them.
Soon after I arrived at this point I had orders from general headquarters, Savannah, to parole the prisoners and send them to savannah. I sent under that order 1,042, and before I could send more the trains were taken off for troops from Thomasville. On the 5th instant orders were forwarded to me to ship prisoners to Thomasville without delay. Under that order I impressed a train which had on board Major Burks' battalion of Fourth Georgia Reserves and Captain Dyke's section of artillery. On this train I sent 400 prisoners and Colonel Fannin with four companies of his regiment, and returned the artillery section. I also sent Captain Moreno with orders to impress slave labor and put up an inclosure. I obtained an order from Lieutenant-General Hardee to impress, as the people refused the labor. I have also sent Captain Johnson, assistant quartermaster, forward to prepare quarters, &c., for the post. I had another train sent, on which I put 1,200 prisoners and the guard. I have on hand at this post 2,500 prisoners and the Second Regiment Georgia Reserves, with three companies of the Fourth Georgia Reserves, under Colonel Maddox, and an additional guard sent by General McLaws, of sixty men of the garrison guard (disabled men).
I would be extremely obliged to have your orders as soon as practicable, to enable me to know what to do. Shall I leave Captain Barry in charge and report to you, or shall I go on to Thomasville and perfect the prison?
I learn that in the vicinity of the streams timber is scarce, and I directed the engineer to inclose an earth-work of sufficient dimensions, inverted; that is, the ditch, twelve feet wide on the inside, to serve as a dead-line. The guard on the parapet wall, with the artillery, I think will render it perfectly safe and much more easily guarded, and I think it can be built in eight or ten days at furthest. Should this meet your approval I will continue the work as ordered. I expect it will be but temporary, and that Anderson or Lawton will be in a short time the place for prisoners.
I have received reports from Colonel Bondurant, and not knowing where to forward them, have retained them and assumed the direction of affairs in that quarter.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
P. S. - Shall I keep the operator and bring him with me should I be ordered to Florence?