War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0458 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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will be subjected to the examination of a competent court-martial, and such course pursued as will be justified by the facts.

All that I have known of the troops organized in this department in the Corps d'Afrique since the date mentioned of Colonel Drew's commission, now nearly a year, and covering periods of great exigency and difficulty, in which they have been exposed to all the trials to which any soldiers can be subjected, including the affair at Fort Jackson, which must be classed as a case of mutiny against official authority, I am gratified to be able to say that my confidence in their capacity for service is unimpaired. It must be considered, however, that they are unable immediately to comprehend to its full extent the necessity of strict military discipline; that a great many of the duties of citizens which are readily understood and accepted by white men are not by them understood and appreciated. A few months' instruction and discipline is not sufficient to enable them to comprehend all that is required of citizens or soldiers. All this will come in course of time, and much sooner than I should have anticipated, but for my experience in the organization of these troops. It is indispensable that the officer should be men of high character, able to appreciate the capacity as well as the deficiencies of the men placed in their charge.

We have organized from twenty-five to thirty regiments. It has been necessary to take a large number of officers from the regiments of the Thirteenth and Nineteenth Corps, upon very imperfect examination as to qualifications. Unfortunately, some officers, regarding the organization of the corps as of inferior character to that of white troops, and supposing that officers of inferior qualifications would be able to discharge the corresponding duty of officers in other branches of the service, have sometimes recommended men disqualified by want of character and capacity for the discharge of the humblest duties in the regiments to which they belonged, and others, seeking promotion for personal objects, indifferent to the success of the corps, have in some cases been appointed. A board of examiners was early organized for the investigation of the qualifications of officers who had been commissioned, as well as of those who applied for commissions, consisting of Colonel C. C. Dwight, One hundred and sixtieth New York; Captain J. S. Crosby, U. S. Arm, and Captain Samuel Hamblin, Eighth Regiment, Corps d'Afrique.

The examination by this board has been thorough, and officers receiving its approval have thus far appeared to be competent for the discharge of their duties. It is just say, however, that the highest qualifications, physical and mental, are demanded for this command. The limitations in the number of men in each regimental to 500 works favorably; the troops are more quickly instructed and disciplined. It is approved by the experience of other nations in the organization of troops of a similar character; 1,000 men of such limited capacity, instruction, and self-possession is too strong of a regiment. As soon, hoverer, as the troops are completely disciplined, this number can be safely increased to the maximum by the addition of 50 or 100 at a time. By such a course, the men of the original regiment instruct their comrades.

Efforts have been made to instruct the troops in the normal branches of English education. An instructor has been authorized for each regiment, to be a part of the staff of its commander, with the rank of lieutenant, and a general instructor for the corps is authorized for the staff of the commanding officer. The chaplains have been efficient in the