The people of the rebel States are in great want, and their suffering is making a strong impression upon the rebel army and government, but especially upon the State governments. The planets are going to work with a good heart. The negroes return to their plantations will angle under the promise of protection of the army and compensation for their labor, which is almost universally assented to by the planters. The Abolitionists, the negroes, their partisans or leaders, and the planters are united in support of the orders I have issued. Large crops of sugar,cotton, and corn will be raised this year. With adequate military and naval force, the condition of the department would be entirely satisfactory.
I go to Baton Rouge to-night.
I have the honor to be, with much respect, your obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE GULF, 19TH A. C., No. 66. New Orleans, March 7, 1863.
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II. The Commission appointed to consider the general subject of public charity, and the present necessities of the destitute poor, and also the best method of dispensing relief, report that the Government charity for the five last months of the past year amounted, at army prices, to $196,000,or an average of $1,441 per day. They consisted in donations of provisions. The cash expenditure for the distribution of this charity alone for the month of December was $8,135.88. It is ascertained that payments have been made to owners for the services of persons held as slaves employed in this distribution, at the rate, in one instance, of $30 per month.
The consideration of the different topics embraced in the report suggests to the commanding general the necessity of a careful discrimination in the dispensation of this fund. It is therefore ordered as follows:
1st. The Commission will, within one week from the date of this order, discontinue the issue of rations under their present system of division of classes, and will issue them only to destitute poor, and to the families of soldiers enlisted n this department into the Army of the United States, and to the latter only until the soldiers shall have been mustered into service and received their bounty or advance pay. The term "destitute poor" is intended to include all persons having no means of support, and who themselves are unable or have no one to labor for their support, and to exclude able-bodied persons of any class who have refused employment or can support themselves by their own labor. Rations of groceries will not be issued except in cases of invalids, and then only in like of meat rations. To aid in determining the validity of the claims of soldiers' families to rations under Special Orders, No. 209, of July 21, 1862, form these headquarters, commanding officers of all such regiments or corps as have been enlisted under the provisions of that authority shall make out complete and correct rolls of such enlisted meant of their respective commands, entering carefully all payments that have been made to them and all desertions, and immediately forward these rolls to the Commission. All future payment to these men will in like manner be immediately reported by their respective commanders to the Commission, who shall then at once recall and cancel the tickets dependent upon such payments. Deserters shall in all cases be at once