War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0156 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

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to relieve his men at Toone's Station. My order was, and is that he should guard the road from here to Toone's and use the Forty-fifth for that purpose; and until he can accordingly do so his guard at Toone's will remain. If his guard is not strong enough, re-enforce it for the present according to my telegram of last evening.


Major-General, Commanding.


Memphis, August 7, 1862.

Captain FITCH,

Assistant Quartermaster, Memphis, Tenn.:

SIR: The duties devolving on the quartermaster of this post, in addition to his legitimate functions, are very important and onerous, and I am fully aware that the task is more than should devolve on one man.

I will endeavor to get you help in the person of some commissioned officer, and if possible, one under bond, as he must handle large amounts of money in trust; but for the present we must execute the duties falling to our share as well as possible. On the subject of vacant houses General Grant's orders are:

Take possession of all vacant stores and houses in the city, and have the rented at reasonable rates; rent to be paid monthly in advance. These buildings, with their tenants, can be turned over to proprietors on proof of loyalty; also take charge of such as have been leased out by disloyal owners.

I understand that General Grant takes the rents and profits of this class of real property under the rules and laws of war and not under the confiscation at of Congress; therefore the question of title is not involved-simple the possession, and the rents and profits of houses belonging to our enemies which are not vacant we hold in trust for them or the Government, according to the future decisions of the proper tribunals.

Mr. McDonald, your chief agent in renting and managing this business, called on me last evening and left with me written questions, which it would take a volume to answer and a Webster to elucidate: but as we can only attempt plain, substantial justice I will answer these questions as well as I can, briefly and to the point:

First. When ground is owned by parties who have gone South and have leased the ground to parties now in the city, who own the improvements on the ground?

Answer. The United States takes the rents due the owner of the land; does not disturb the owner of the improvements.

Second. When parties owning houses have gone South, and the tenant has given his notes for the rent in advance?

Answer. Notes are mere evidence of the debt due landlord. The tenant pays the rent to the quartermaster, who gives a bond of indemnity against the notes representing the debt for the particular rent.

Third. When the tenant has expended several month's rent in repairs on the house?

Answer. Of course allow all such credits on reasonable proof and showing.

Fourth. When the owner has gone South and parties here hold liens on the property and are collecting the rents to satisfy their hens?

Answer. The rent of a house can only be mortgaged to a person in possession. If a loyal tenant be in possession and claim the rent from