Maury to report and co-operate with Colonel Lowry until the work is thoroughly accomplished, reporting by wire at Meridan, whence he may received a reply from Colonel Lowry.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. M. JACK,
Numbers 80. Demopolish, Ala., March 20, 1864.
I. Colonel Lowry, Sixth Mississippi Regiment, will take charge of the expedition against deserters and disloyal man between Pearl River and Tombigbee, such of the Southern Railroad. He will proceed without delay be cars to Meridan, with the command organized for that purpose, and execute with vigor the verbal instructions already received from the lieutenant-general commanding.
* * * * *
By command of Lieutenant-General Polk:
T. M. JACK.
Demopolis, March 20, 1864.
His Excellency President Davis,
Colonel Ives has spend several days at these headquarters, and having seen my army will speak to you of its condition. I have also given him such information as was necessary to put him in possession of the history of the late campaign, its facts and incidents.
I have also spoken to him of certain things I regard as of great importance in the successful management of this department. Of these I have requested him to speak to you, and inclose copies of two communications* regarding them, addressed by me to the War Department. To them I beg leave to call your particular attention. The resources of this department in food are abundant, as also in quartermaster's stores, but under the present system they are not brought out, and the dependence to which it subjects the commanding general is fraught with damaging delays and great dangers. I can see no good objection to the change proposed. In regard to the
inefficiency and mischiefs of the conscription system now in operation it is sufficient to refer to this state of things in the southern counties of Mississippi. if the whole of the executive part of all military operations in the department were placed in the hands of the department commanded these evils could not arise, and many lives sacrificed in suppressing them would be saved to their families and the country.
In regard tot he condition of affairs in the counties alluded to, I have to report that Colonel Harry Maury, under my orders, through the commander of the District of the Gulf, made a campaign against the deserters and traitor in Jones, Pery, &c., about a week ago. He found them, as reported, in open rebellion, defiant at the oust, pro-
* Not found as enclosures; probably those of February 29, Part II, p. 814, and March 1, p. 574.