the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, Colonel Stokes, and a few others who are neither well drilled, disciplined, or equipped.
It is proper for me to remark here that two battalions of that regiment will never be of service together, and I shall press upon Governor Johnson the suggestion of the general commanding the department to separate them.
Generally matters go on pretty well between the military and the people in the district, but with some exceptions. They have not gone so well at and about Gallatin. At other posts in the district there has been no real cause for compliant, the post commanders having been vigilant in suppressing the rebellion and just in their treatment of the people.
I call especial attention to the admirable administration of affairs in his command by Colonel Henry R. Mizner, Fourteenth Michigan Volunteers, at Columbia. His troops, generally led by Major Thomas C. Fitz Gibbon, a very efficient and gallant officer, have captured, I believe, more armed rebels than he has men in this regiment.
The disposition of the people to return to their allegiance is general and apparent. I think that eight-tenths of the people of this district desire the restoration of civil authority and the old Government, and will say so when the proper occasion is offered. I have conversed with most of the leading and influential men of the district, and think I am not deceived.
The change is very marked and decided, and the general commanding himself would be surprised to see it.
The disorders and confusion incident to the ward have caused great suffering, of which they are heartily tired, and are desirous of peace on almost any terms.
The negro population is giving much trouble to the miliary, as well as to the people. Slavery is virtually dead in Tennessee, although the State is excepted from the emancipation proclamation. Negroes leave their homes and stroll over the country uncontrolled. Hundreds of them are supported by the Government who neither work nor are able to work. Many straggling negroes have arms obtained from soldiers, and by their insolence and threats greatly alarm and intimidate white families, who are not allowed to keep arms, or who would generally be afraid to use if they had them. The military cannot look after these things through the country, and there are no civil authorities to do it.
In many cases negroes leave their homes to work for themselves, boarding and lodging with their masters, defiantly asserting their right to do it. It is now and has been for some time the practice of soldiers to go to the country and bring in wagon-loads of negro women and children to this city, and I suppose to other posts. Protectionist are granted to some slaves to remain with their owners, exempt from labor, as in case of Mrs. Buchanan, relative to Secretary E. H. East, whose letter on that subject is forwarded with this.* General Paine has adopted the policy of hiring slaves to their owners by printed contracts, made in blank and filled up for the occasion, which, though a flagrant usurpation, I have not interfered with his action on that and many other subjects, preferring to submit such matters to the consideration of the general commanding the department, which I shall do in a separate communication forwarded at the same time this goes. Inclosed I send you blank contract used by Brigadier-General Paine.
*Letter not found.