active service would cure these discontents and those sympathizers at home, and I would respectfully suggest that they be sent into the field immediately, and their places be filled by those who have borne the heat and burden of the day. This suggestion ought to be made by General Mercer. He admits the facts, but I fear he may not like the remedy, which I would extend to all the corps, except Colonel Gordon's and Colonel Anderson's regiments.
G. B. LAMarch
OCTOBER 14, 1863.
Had you not better call on General Mercer for a report as to the state of feeling here represented, and, if existing, for the suggestion of a remedy?
J. A. S. [SEDDON],
OCTOBER 15, 1863.
Respectfully referred to General Mercer, whose attention is called to the indorsement of the Secretary of War and the suggestion of a remedy.
Adjutant and Inspector General.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DISTRICT OF GEORGIA,
Savannah, October 20, 1863.
Respectfully returned to Secretary of War.
Mr. Lamar's statements are denied in toto. In addition, I desire to contradict emphatically the statement that "General Mercer admits the facts."
The troops composing this command are as loyal and patriotic as in any portion of the Confederacy. There have been many absent without leave from this as from all our armies, but I am happy to say that very many returned in consequence of the President's proclamation, and very many in consequence of vigorous measures adopted since to enforce their return. The absentees have always plead distress in their families, and avowed every disposition to fight for their country. The only disaffection known to exist was in one company of Major E. C. Anderson's battalion, the Twenty-fourth Georgia, and this was against their officers and not the cause. It was produced be the deceit of the officers commanding the company before it entered the battalion, in making promises upon their enlistment to the men which they had not the power to fulfill. The men of the company were excited by the intrigues of said ex-officers, and the excited sentiments of the men and their friends at home aggravated and ex-aggerated by said ex-officers to gratify private malice and produce certain political effects. The men themselves and their relatives and friends, in frequent letters to me, have assured me of their undying devotion to the South. Major Anderson reports that almost all his absentees have returned voluntarily to his command.
H. W. MERCER,