War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0856 KY., SW., VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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from the evils to which it was subjected in consequence of the presence of a very large number of deserters from all the armies of the Confederacy, in which there were commands raised from it. These measures became indispensable from the extent to which these evils had reached. Formidable bands were being organized in different parts of this department and hostility to the Government began to be openly proclaimed. it became necessary to silence these discontents and to crush these incipient rebellions at once, and I took such measures as effectually to accomplish it. I inaugurated campaigns against all absentees all over the department by sending ut detachments from my forces in the field. These have been very active and their operations have been very successful; many of the ringleaders fund in arms and offering resistance were summarily disposed of, and such in impression thereby made upon their followers that they have either given themselves up or gone to their commands. I have reason to believe that over 1,000 of these men have been sent from the woods to their commands and other are daily returning. My operations still continue and will be kept up until I clear the department of them and they are forced back to their duty. To aid in accomplishing this I have been induced, after the measures I had been pursuing had demonstrated to the absentees that they could not escape, in reply to a petition from the senate and house of representatives of Mississippi, to issue a proclamation offering pardon to all who would return. The effect of this has proved very salutary, and while I have not relaxed my operations in ferreting them out they are moved by it to abandon their haunts and to return to duty.

To prevent their return to their hiding-places and to complete more effectually the work of driving them out of their retreats, as well as to give protection to the civil power, which I am restoring where it has been driven out, I have cut up my department into military district of a size to be easily managed. To the command of these I have assigned such officers of my command a shave been disabled by the casualties of battle, or otherwise to whom companies raised for local defense, composed of the material set apart by Congress for that purpose, and exempts have been ordered to report. By the acts of these I hope soon to bring the department into a satisfactory condition and to keep it so. These companies and all those making up the reserve I presume the Government will wish grouped into regiments, brigades, and divisions as soon as practicable, and they will be at its disposal when called for.

I send by the messenger who takes this a copy of a map of my department, with the sub-divisions into military police districts, for your information.

I remain, very truly and respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

DEMOPOLIS, April 30, 1864.

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond:

I have suspended, until I could hear from you, the orders given by the War Department to Lieutenants Johnston and Blackburn to operate on the Mississippi River against gun-boats and transports. This I did because I saw there was great danger of detached parties