being, should be scrupulously avoided. Every dictate of sound policy suggests this course, even if we regard the matter as still an experiment of doubtful results, which it is not.
Fourth. The families of colored soldiers should be provided for by allowing them to locate upon and cultivate land in advance of the regular serve and sale thereof. This is important as a military measure by making the soldier contented with his lot, by securing to him a home for his family during the er and for himself when the war is over.
I inclose herewith the duplicate of a letter addressed this day to the Secretary of War, recommending the consolidation, under Colonel Little field (Fourth South Carolina Volunteers), of fragments of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth South Carolina Volunteers.
Brigadier General Rufus Saxton, who had commenced the organization, of the Fifth South Carolina Volunteers, under his special authority from the War Department to raise 5,000 South Carolina volunteers, offers no objection to this plan. These are urgent reasons why it should be carried into immediate effect.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,
In the Field, Folly Island, S. C., December 14, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
I have the honor to invite your attention to certain features in the existing system of organization of colored troops in this department which I consider as very objectionable, and calculated to seriously impair, if not wholly destroy, the usefulness of these troops in the public service.
There are now nominally five regiments of South Carolina colored T. W. Higginson, has ever reached the minimum number of men required by law. The other are as follows: Second South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel James Montgomery, about 540 men; Third South Carolina Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel A. G. Bennett, about 300 men, organized by Major-General Hunter for labor in the quartermaster's department, for which they have been used until quite recently; Fourth South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel M. S. Littlefield, about 150 men; Fifth South Carolina Volunteers, organization just commenced.
Of the four regiments last mentioned, not one has the requisite number of men to give it efficiency, and the present rate of recruiting furnishes no ground for expecting that they will be filled within a reasonable time.
I therefore consider it in the highest degree important that some system of consolidation be adopted. Upon consultation with Brigadier-General Saxton, the following seems to me to be the one best calculated to secure the efficiency of these troops, viz, to beak up the Third South Carolina Volunteers, and transfer the men to the Second and Fourth, the latter to be designated as the Third, under Colonel Littlefield, all the commissioned officer of the three separate organizations to be transferred into the new one.