chief impressment agent for the department; that no impressment will be tolerated unless made in strict conformity to the provisions of the act of Congress authorizing impressments of private property for public use, and only then in cases of absolute necessity and emergency. I have ordered thorough inspections of the several districts in the department, with the view of breaking up and conscribing the members of all illegal organizations. With the approval of the President, I addressed a letter (see inclosure marked C*) to His Excellency Government Clark, of Mississippi, upon which he has issued his proclamation and enlisted these of Mississippi, through which, with proper vigilance on the part of district commanders, I hope to secure the return to the army of many of the deserters now harbored in that State. No one, I can assure you, appreciates more fully than I do the absolute importance of doing everything possible to get these men to return to their colors, and I shall certainly do all in my power to secure that result. The Governor of MISSISSIPPI is indefatigable in his efforts to organize and support the entire fighting population of his State. He is now organizing the "volunteers" of his State, i. e., those not liable to Confederate service, and has thus far raised about 3,000. These are, of course, from the militia, not the reserves.
Under authority of the War Department I have directed Brigadier - General Hodge to organize the reserves in East Louisiana, and in a few days will send an officer into WEST Tennessee to organize the reserves there. I have directed that all posts no absolutely necessary shall immediately be abolished (see inclosure marked D+). I have also abolished the provost-marshal system, which was unauthorized by law, unnecessary, and offensive to the citizen and soldier (see inclosure marked E#). As soon as the necessary inspections can be completed I shall forward to the Department a long list of officers for whom there is no appropriate or necessary duty, with the recommendation that they be dropped from the rolls of the army and ordered to report to the nearest enrolling officer for enrollment in the rank. If this recommendation be adopted by the Department many good soldiers will be added to our armies in the field. Another source of irregularity and also uncertainty in controlling supplies in an emergency I find to be in the existence of the two sets of quartermasters and commissaries in my command. One set, styled "State" quartermasters and "State" commissaries, are alone authorized to purchase supplied. They are also only subject to the orders of their respective chiefs at Richmond, are in sole possession of all supplied of their respective departments, and, in some instances, have refused to turn one supplied upon the order of my predecessors. I presume and certainly hope none of these officers will ever refuse to promptly ebey an order from me, but at the same time consider it my duty to respectfully urge the great and absolute importance of having their existing orders so modified as to enable them to yield that obedience without disobeying their chiefs at Richmond. In making this recommendation I beg to assure you that I have no disposition to interfere with any system which the experience of the Quartermaster or the Commissary General may lead those officers to deem necessary, but think is absolutely essential to the good of the service that I should as department commander have the right to order the issue or removal of supplied within the limits of my department whenever events may require it. To better secure good order and discipline, as
* See Taylor to Clark, October 8, p. 806.
+ See Levy to Gardner, Maury, &c., October 24, p. 848.
# See General Orders, Numbers 120, September 24, Part II, p. 870.