Many persons in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi are recruiting for cavalry, ostensibly under authority of the War Department. Many of these persons never completed their companies, having no other object than to keep themselves and a few friends out of service. None of them comply with the conditions imposed. All of them do much to prevent the increase of our infantry force by keeping men from entering it, enticing soldiers to desert, and harboring deserters. I therefore earnestly beg Your Excellency to annul all these authorities and forbid them for the future. We have in this army 1,500 soldiers without arms, and therefore cannot afford arms for worthless cavalry. We want infantry, and have now a superabundance of cavalry. Newspaper advertisements indicate that officers are recruiting in Georgia for Forrest and Morgan.
If a sufficient number of shoes could be furnished our men would be very comfortable. They are worn out faster than received, so that the supply is diminished rapidly and the number of men unable to march increasing as fast. I have never, in spite of this want, seen as healthy a body of troops, and their officers think them in excellent temper for battle.
Major Bradford, of the artillery, who served with me in Mississippi and was absent on duty when I left that department, wishes to join me here. It would gratify me very much to have him with me again. I hope that public considerations may not prevent the indulgence of our wishes.
Desertion is becoming more frequent from inclination to join Forrest and Morgan, and some probably to avoid the revolunteering which is going on in several divisions.
In my first letter, in asking the appointment of lieutenant-generals, I suggested that they should not be taken from this army. That suggestion was injudicious. It is necessary of course that those should be promoted whom you consider best qualified.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. E. JOHNSTON,
DALTON, January 23, 1864.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON:
Several persons claiming to have authority from you are advertising in Georgia for recruits for Forrest and Gordon [Morgan]. If you have given such, I beg you to recall them. They break up our infantry, enticing them to desert, and shielding deserters, as well as keeping conscripts and volunteers out of the infantry, where alone we want them.
J. E. JOHNSTON.
JANUARY 24, 1864.
I know of no authorities to recruit in Georgia, except on special grounds to an officer in Northeast Georgia. Revoke all orders given more than sixty days since, and all of them engaged in Georgia recruiting for Forrest.
J. A. S.,