SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Murfreesborough, Tenn., Feburary 8, 1863.
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XI. Colonel W. J. Palmer, Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, will proceed to Nashville and reorganize those men of his regiment who marched with the army in the advance on Murfreesborough into eleven companies. Colonel Palmer has authority to require all detailed men to return, on his order, to duty with their regiment. He will nominate, for appointment, one captain and one first lieutenant for each company, and the commissioned officers of the regimental staff, forwarding a list of the officers so nominated to these headquarters. He will at once ascertain the condition of the regiment in regard to horses, horse equipment, arms, &c., reporting what they now have, and what is required to complete their equipment, that immediate steps may be taken to procure the necessary articles.
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By command of Major-General Rosecrans:
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
NASHVILLE, February 15, 1863.
Colonel J. B. FRY:
MY DEAR COLONEL: The condition of the Anderson Cavalry, when I arrived here, was just about as bad as it was possible to be. Even the men who went to the front had since become demoralized with the prospect of disbandment, and the unfortunate encouragement given to the mutineers by various committees from Philadelphia, and sympathizing meetings in that city, at which the doctrine of military despotism was preached.
General Rosecrans has approved of my plan of reorganization, and has given me full powers. It contemplates the breaking up of the existing company organizations, and the distribution of the 300 who did not mutiny into eleven new companies-the old troop to be Company A-and to complete the regiment. Thus we will have a nucleus of good men equally distributed among all the companies; a captain and lieutenant for each company to be immediately appointed, and the remaining vacancies to be filled from the new men (that is, not "old troop") as rewards for good behavior. Half the non-commissioned offices also to be left vacant for the present, so as to put the men on their good behavior. All the sergeants and corporals among the mutineers to be reduced to the ranks. Admission to Company A, to fill it up, to be made as a reward for good soldiership. After these new company organizations are got agoing, papers started, good discipline insured, &c., draw gradually from the mutineers and distribute then among the eleven companies, so that they will perforce fall into good habits quickly.
General Rosecrans selected some 15 of the mutineers for trial by court-martial, the rest to be turned over to me, and as they all signified their desire to return to duty last Thursday, I released them from the smoke-house, and they are now in barracks in Nashville, wearing themselves our with fruitless discussions and vain elections of officers. General Rosecrans, singular to say, gave them some weeks ago the privilege of electing their own officers, but has since rescinded it. The regiment has only 15 horses left, about 250 carbines and sabers, but few tents, and no wagons. It is rather worse than beginning afresh, but when-