men furloughed. As some confusion has arisen from a multiplicity of orders in regard to the reassembling of this brigade, the major-general commanding has endeavored to make himself familiar with its condition and difficulties to be overcome in its reorganization, and he thinks a general order of the above purport will be attended with most beneficial results.
It was with this view and to avoid unnecessary delay, especially in relation to that portion of the brigade reassembled in portions of the State not within your jurisdiction, that Colonel Thomas was instructed to issue such an order before conferring with you. The men who have report voluntarily have been idling away their time at the various camps established, and are without arms. They were therefore discontented and a useless expense to the Government. Moreover, at this particular season of the year their presence is most desirable at their homes, where they can render assistance needful to their families and give seem attention to the planting of their corn crops for the ensuing year. It is believed that such action as that above indicated will, in addition to other desirable results, so influence public opinion as to array it in favor of rather than against the Government in its efforts to reorganize the paroled regiments. By the system of semi-monthly inspection of urloughs the men can be half in hand, as it were, ready to be order to the field as soon as they shall be declared exchanged.
Nothing surely can do more to induce desertion or make troops discontented than to keep them idle in camps when no good purpose is apparently subserved thereby, and it is extremely desirable to cultivate the morals of the men by removing all causes conducive to arrested wherever found and kept in camp under guard, and thus a judicious distinction be maintained between the two classes; and in this connection the major-general commanding recommends that only one camp be established, to which all who are absent without leave should be sent.
The major-general commanding desires that you will furnish him complete lists of the paroled prisoners of the brigade referred to, and indicate to him which organizations you would desire exchanged first. Meanwhile, as he has a surplus of 1,100 or 1,200 prisoners, he will push on the exchanges as rapidly as possible.
Second. it is designed to retain General Polignac's brigade in your sub-district to the last practicable moment, to cover the works which Major Douglas, chief engineer of the department, may decide to throw up for the defense of the rives in that portion of the State, but while General Polignac will report directly and be subordinate to his division commander near this place, he will report to you all movements of the enemy which may affect the dispositions of your troops. Your conduct in sending the negroes and tools to Harrisonburg by the Conley is approved. It was supposed Major Douglas would have been on the Washita before this.
The Conley and Ruby will be indispensable to Brigadier-General Polignac for the supply of his command, but they will be used also to facilitate the engineer department in its labors, always subordinate, however, to the necessities of the troops. As your water transportation is limited, the major-general commanding directs that you apply to Lieutenant-General Holmes, commanding District of Arkansas, to send you one or two small boats down the river, stating to him your necessities. The Barkson might perhaps be spared you. Should