War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 0210 OPERATIONS IN N. C., S. C., S. GA., AND E. FLA. Chapter LIX.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

Hilton Head, S. C., February 2, 1865.

(Via Fort Monroe 6th, 3. 30 p.m.)

Lieutenant General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding Armies of the United States:

GENERAL: I have received dispatch from General Sherman, who was at a point four miles south of Hickory Springs last night (1st). He expected to be at Rivers' Bridge to-night (2nd), and at a point midway between Branchville and Augusta to-morrow night. The roads were fair. General Hatch's division is demonstrating toward Combahee and feigning to attempt forcing a crossing. General E. E. Potter with three regiments is demonstrating from Edisto Island toward Williston. Int two days this force will be added to that on Folly island to demonstrate against James Island. I shall keep things active and strive to aid General Sherman in every way in my power.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER,

Major-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH,

Hilton Head, S. C., February 2, 1865.

Major General H. W. HALLECK, U. S. Army,

Chief of Staff, U. S. Armies:

GENERAL: The experience of the past few weeks has shown that volunteering among the colored men in this department is very slow and may not for a long time furnish the number so much needed for garrison and other duties. These men, just freed from long servitude, are, of necessity, ignorant and improvident. Their idea of liberty is exemption alike from work and care. The streets of Savannah are full of them, lying in the sun and waiting for bread without labor. Needing their services as soldiers, I respectfully ask that the Department will fix a quota for the States of South Carolina dn Georgia, and allow me to fill it by conscripting the able-bodied young colored men, under such restrictions and exemptions as may be deemed most wise by the Department. Such as are imposed by the existing U. S. conscription law might be designated with an order that one-half or one-third of the number liable should be drafted. I have consulted with colored pastors on this subject and they agree with me in advising the proposed course. The future of the race is a matter of serious moment. Education is necessary to make freedom truly beneficial. The training of the army will do more to educate these men than any other scheme which can be devised; it will make them self-reliant and will develop their manhood. The camp is to-day the school-house of this race; it may be that in the future the soldierly training of these people will be their protection against local injustice, while the habits of care and economy so learned will make them self-supporting.

Alike, therefore, upon military and humane grounds, I ask the careful attention of the Department to the suggestions of this letter, and am, general.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. G. FOSTER,

Major-General, Commanding.