after my arrival at this point I was informed by Captain Wallis, of my command (whose company Colonel Lowry claims as deserters), that the officer of his company sent with orders from you to Colonel Lowry for the delivery of the man he had arrested on our return from Alabama had never got back from that trip, and that it was reported to him that this officer, as well as several privates of his company, had been arrested and held by Colonel Lowry, and that one of the men so arrested had escaped and brought off his horse, but that Colonel Lowry retained the saddle. I at once wrote to the commanding officer of the State troops stating what had been reported, and requiring the release of said officer and men should the reported prove true. I also instructed my aide-de-camp, who carried the letter, to demand said saddle of Colonel Lowry. He returned with a reply from General Gholson that the men referred to were not at that time with the State troops, and a letter from Major Marshall, of Colonel Lowry's regiment, in reply to letter sent to him in relation to the arrest of deserters from the infantry serving with his command, and proffering aid, &c., declining such proffers, curtly refusing to be mixed up with Colonel Lowry's difficulty by delivery of the saddle required. My aide-de-camp stated that General Gholson was present when the demand was made and gave no order for the release of the saddle. I at once gave orders to my pickets to arrest the first man of Colonel Lowry's regiment who came to their posts, and bring me his horse and saddle, which I intended to keep until the property of my men is returned. I had previously given orders that none of the State troop were to be allowed to enter my camp, except on official business, as I do not choose to have my camp a resort for idlers and stragglers. Since writing to commanding officer of State troops I have been informed that the officer and privates about whom I made inquiry had been arrested by Lieutenant-Colonel Lowry and held until they consented to join his command, and that they are now serving with a portion of his command near Blackland. I can hardly believe that this is true, but the men are missing,and I have sent a squadron to Blackland to look for them, with orders to bring them and any officer in command of them to me. This squadron has not yet returned. I regret much that these difficulties should occur. It is impossible for me to allow my men to be arrested by
Lieutenant-Colonel Lowry while on duty, and he says in his letter that he desires a contest with the Confederate authorities, which makes me apprehend a disturbance.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE,
Dalton, Ga., December 18, 1863.
Corps commanders will make immediate preparations to have suitable shelters constructed for the animals of their commands, especially for the teams of the ordnance trains.
By command of General Hardee:
GEORGE WM. BRENT,