from their commands without leave who shall, with the least possible delay, return to their proper post of duty within twenty days after the first publication of the proclamation in the State in which the absentee may be at the date of the publication.
II. The benefit of this amnesty and pardon is extended to all who have been accused or who have been convicted and are now undergoing sentence for absence without leave or desertion, excepting those only who have been twice convicted of desertion. The general commanding orders that all parties entitled to the amnesty and pardon hereby offered be released from arrest and their punishment remitted. The will return to their respective command without delay.
III. Those who desert or absent themselves without leave after the publication of these orders will not be entitled to the benefit of the amnesty and pardon granted by the President.
By command of General Bragg:
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION,
Kingston, Tenn., August 9, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant-General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: Prompted by the repeated solicitation of numerous friends and acquaintances resident in West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi; also by a desire to serve my country to the best of my ability, and wherever those services can be rendered most available and effective, I respectfully lay before you a proposition which, if approved, will seriously, if not entirely, obstruct the navigation of the Mississippi River, and in sixty days procure a large force now inside the enemy's lines, which without this, or a similar move, cannot be obtained. The proposition is this:
Give me the command of the forces from Vicksburg to Cairo, or, in other words, all the forces I may collect together and organize between those points, say, in Northern Mississippi, West Tennessee, and those that may join me from Arkansas, Mississippi, and Southern Kentucky. I desire to take with me only about 400 men from my present command, viz, my escort, 60; McDonald's battalion, 150; the Second Kentucky Cavalry, 250, selected entirely on account of their knowledge of the country in which I propose to operate. In all, say men and outfit, 400 men, with long-range guns (Enfield), four 3-inch Dahlgren or Parrott guns, with eight Numbers 1. horses to each gun and caisson, two wagons for the battery, one pack mule to every 10 men, and 200 rounds of ammunition for small-arms and artillery.
I would like to have Captain [W. W.] Carnes, now at Chattanooga, in some portion of General Bragg's army, to command the battery, and, in case he was detached for the expedition, that he be allowed to select his cannoneers, &c. I have resided on the Mississippi for over twenty years, was for many years engaged in buying and selling negroes, and know the country perfectly well between Memphis and Vicksburg, and also am well acquainted with all the prominent planters in that region, as well as above Memphis. I also have officers in my command and on my staff who have rafted timber out of the bottoms, and know every foot of the ground from Commerce to Vicksburg. With the force proposed, and my knowledge of the river bottoms, as well also as the knowledge