HDQRS. DEPT. OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND GEORGIA,
Charleston, S. C., September 10, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: Special Orders, No. 209, current series, from your office,
requires partisan corps raised without authority in the Department of South Carolina and Georgia to be disbanded, and the men composing the same within the conscript law to be ordered to report at camps of instruction. It was distinctly understood by all applicants for authority to raise corps of partisans within the limits of South Carolina that my approval was given with the express proviso and understanding that no men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years were to be taken into these corps. I have the honor to inclose herewith copy of a letter* from the Honorable Secretary of War to Mr. H. K. Aiken, which you will observe gives no authority to raise his corps except under the restrictions imposed by me.
On the 6th of this month I received through Lieutenant Colonel J. S. Preston, assistant adjutant-general, commanding Camp of Instruction near Columbia, the accompanying copy of a telegram.* This was the first intimation from any official source that the restrictions imposed by me and sanctioned by the War Department had been subsequently annulled; nor do I now believe that such interpretation as has been given to this telegram was intended by the Department. I am very confident that so important a change in its views would have been duly communicated to me. Until very recently I had no reason to believe that any of the corps of Partisans, raised, as I supposed, with my approval and by authority of the War Department, contained within its ranks a single individual between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five years. How entirely I was mistaken in this belief is evidenced by the accompanying report,* furnished me on my call by Colonel Preston on the 6th instant. It appears that no less than 601 men have thus been brought into these new and comparatively useless organizations to the prejudice of the old regiments, many of which are reduced to mere skeletons. I do not consider these corps to have been raised by authority, nor were they ever reported to me for duty, as required by the instructions of the Secretary in his letter* (herewith) of May 16. I respectfully request to be informed in what light the Department regards them. With respect to partisan corps raised within the limits of the military district of Georgia, no individual has applied for or received my approval, as required by Article V, General Orders, No. 30. If authority has been obtained for such organizations in that State it must either have been on the approval of Brigadier-General Lawton, without reference to myself as department commander, or by authority granted directly from the Department of War. It is very certain that these troops ought to be disbanded, but I desire to be informed as to the wishes of the Secretary, and to what extent he regards my approval as necessary to their authorized organization.
J. C. PEMBERTON,
ADJT. AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 218. Richmond, Va., September 17, 1862.
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XVI. Major General J. C. Pemberton, on being relieved in command of