car-loads of ammunition, which he desired to have moved into buildings immediately. The medical purveyor also received at the same time a very large quantity of medical supplies, which it was necessary should be sheltered. I at the same time had about 1,200 convalescent soldiers in camp without rations or fuel; neither had any of the troops at La Grande (the Seventeenth, Ninetieth, and twenty-sixth Regiments) any fuel. Many of those in camp had the measles, and the medical officer in charge of the camp said it was absolutely necessary they should have fire to save, perhaps, life. I had but three teams at the post to perform the labor which at that time required not less than thirty.
i gave directions to the officer in charge to send out his well men and procure rails sufficient for the emergency, and sent Captain Curtis with a detail to take any teams from citizens for that occasion. The depredations complained of were committed at that time.
The Ninetieth Illinois took a portion of the fence from the inclosure around your former headquarters. The One hundred and twenty-sixth also committed some depredations around the premises of Dr. Millington. The Seventeenth were quartered on Main street and were on duty nearly all of the time, and in justice to my officers I must award them great praise for their attention to duty and their exertions to prevent any depredations being committed by their men.
I do not deny having a few very bad men, whom I have long been trying to get drummed out of service; most of them, however, are good men, and are generally obedient to orders. I am aware of a laxity of discipline on the part of some of the officers of my regiment; but with the exception of perhaps 10 or 12 men I think, general, they will compare favorably in point of discipline and correct deportment with any regimenting the Western Army. They once had the name of being one of the best.
On the 5th instant, at 10.20 p. m., I received your telegram that trade and travel were open to Holly Springs. About 7 o'clock the following morning I delivered the inclosed order, marked F,* to the provost-marshal; also posted one copy (the one inclosed) on the house near the door of my headquarters in a very conspicuous place, and told all applicants for passes to inform their friends who had applied for passes that they could be procured from the provost-marshal. These are facts which are susceptible of any proof which may be desired.
I trust you will pardon me, general, for being so lengthy in this communication. I have at various times been the recipient of your courtesy and kindness, and freely acknowledge there is no officer in the army whose good opinion I am more desirous to retain than your own.
I omitted to mention, relative to the monopoly refereed to, that I arrested four teams loaded with cotton coming through my picket lines from the south, who exhibited a pass signed by Colonel Hillyer, permitting them to pass anywhere between Holly Springs and La Grange. (This was some time before I received your telegram.) I also telegraphed reporting several persons who had passed south in disobedience to orders. Citizen complained to me of a monopoly, which they said was permitted, but I carried out your orders in letter and spirit, I believe, in very instance.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. S. NORTON,
Colonel Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
* Not found.