Third Regiment remaining on duty in the military district; one company of that regiment having been mustered out of service yesterday in accordance with Special Orders, No. 25, paragraph 3, department headquarters. The reason assigned by the commanding officers of the respective battalions for this disgraceful and mortifying conduct of their men is that their term of service has expired, and they are no longer amenable to military authority. The officers themselves are of the same opinion, and thus the demoralization of their commands is made complete. It is due to them, however, to add that they remain at their posts with the remnants of their commands. They maintain, however, that they can exercise no control over their men, inasmuch as their own commissions have expired. I hope to be relieved from the embarrassments of the position by instructions from department headquarters, now hourly looked for per special courier. It will be impossible, however, for me to apprehend all these deserters, unless re-enforcements are sent me for the purpose. The force now at my disposal is not more than sufficient for the daily picketing and guard duties.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. TRAPIER,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF S. CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, Charleston, S. C., February 4, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, for the information of the War Department. The authority to disband these troops did not arrive from the War Department till the 31st January, 1864, too late for it to reach Georgetown by the 1st of February.
JNO. M. OTEY,
(IN absence of general commanding.)
FEBRUARY 9, 1864.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War, with the telegrams and answers thereto on the subject, for the information of the Secretary.
Adjutant and Inspector General.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
CHARLESTON, January 27, 1864.
Adjutant and Inspector General:
The State troops of South Carolina claim their discharge on 31st instant - that is, six months from August 1. The question has been presented for decision War Department. Their Governor also claims discharge under arrangements with War Department. General Beauregard still at Savannah.
36 R R-VOL XXXV, PT I