War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0288 KY., SW., VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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think it to the interest of the Government that they should remain in Tennessee or Kentucky, as I believe many of them return to the enemy after recruiting their health and strength, because they are rebels by nature; others because of family influence, and others, like the drunkard to his bottle, because they have not sufficient moral firmness to resist the natural depravity of their hearts.

My idea in making the proposition to send them to your State and others in the Northwest was to remove these poor wreathes as far from the temptations of secessionist as possible, thinking by so doing some of them at least might be reformed, and by laboring on our Western farms they would in that contribute somewhat in prosecuting the war in our favor. I can send them as far north as Nashville, should the farmers of your State need laborers. I thought by establishing an agency at Nashville they could thereby have an additional source from which they could get them. The expenses of the agency might be defrayed in the usual way of intelligence offices, as I have no doubt that the agent would in a short time have a much larger demand made on him by farmers than he could supply. It is not my idea to form in Nashville a national or State agency, but simply to advise you that the farmers of the Northwest could procure laborers from the rebel deserters, and it occurred to me that an agency similar to that proposed above would be the most efficient and expeditious way of doing so.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. H. THOMAS,

Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.

CULPEPER, VA.,

April 8, 1864-9.30 p. m.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

As I notified you before leaving Nashville, I believe the rebels will attempt a raid into Kentucky by the way of Pound gap or that vicinity as soon as they can travel. From information just received at Washington, Longstreet's force may be added to Breckinridge's to make this so formidable as to upset offensive operations on our part. By vigilance in Southeast Kentucky, which I know you are wide awake to see the necessity of, such a raid can be made disastrous to the rebels and still leave us free to act offensively from Chattanooga. If Forrest succeeds in getting his force out of Kentucky and West Tennessee, do you not think a bolder commander than General Hurlbut will be required for holding the Mississippi firmly?

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.

CULPEPER, VA.,

April 8, 1864.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN:

I have directed twenty days' forage and provisions to be at Pensacola by 1st of May.

U. S. GRANT,

Lieutenant-General.