report for duty to Major General A. J. Smith. Accordingly, on the 10th of May, in obedience to his orders, I sent the Second New York Cavalry to Talladega, Ala., and on the 11th I moved with the balance of the command northwest, via Kingston, Centerville, Marion, Greensborough, Eutaw, and Pickensville, to Columbus, Miss., reporting my arrival at that point on the 20th May by telegraph to you. On the road from Montgomery, at a point near Marion, I sent the Second Illinois to Tuscaloosa, and with numerous detachments scoured the country and watched the crossings of the Black Warrior and Tombigbee Rivers, with a view of capturing Jeff. Davis, who was reported to be trying to reach the Trans-Mississippi Department through Alabama. Upon reaching Columbus I sent one regiment (Thirteenth Indiana) south along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad to Macon for the purpose of collecting and guarding all Government property at and near that point. On the 27th of May, in obedience to telegraphic instructions, I ordered Brigadier General T. J. Lucas to move with his brigade by the most practicable route to Vicksburg, Miss., and leaving Colonel Joseph Karge in command at Columbus, Miss., with my staff I proceeded with all dispatch by rail via Mobile to this point, arriving on the 29th.
During the entire march of my command on this expedition, private property, except where it was necessary for the sustenance of men and horses, was respected; and immediately upon the receipt of the news of an armistice between Sherman and Johnston, as also of the suspension of hostilities pending the surrender of General Dick Taylor, the most stringent orders were issued and enforced forbidding the impressment of stock, and vouchers were given for all subsistence stores taken. The utmost good order prevailed, as was testified to by the inhabitants along the entire line of march, and I take pleasure in expressing my thanks to the officers of the command, without reference to rank, for their hearty support in enforcing orders. Almost the entire line of march was through country which had never been visited by Federal troops since the commencement of the war, and much of it was the richest portions of the State. The march of the various columns had a good effect upon the people. The entire distance marched was about 700 miles, and over 10,000 Confederate officers and soldiers were paroled. On the line of march we passed at least 300,000 bales of cotton, much of it Government property; also, considerable quantities of commissary and quartermaster's stores. Not deeming it good policy to destroy property when the close of the war was becoming so apparent, no cotton was burned, believing it would find its way to market and come under the control of the Government. Such Confederate commissary and quartermaster's stores as could not be made use of by the command, together with the unserviceable animals, were, by my directions, believing it would meet with approval, distributed to the poor, many of whom were suffering and entirely destitute. The country is filled with hands of armed marauders, composed mostly of deserters from the late rebel armies, who have returned to find their families suffering from the neglect and persecution of the wealthy leaders, at whose instigation they joined the rebel ranks. The poor people, including the returned Confederate private soldiers, are, as a general thing, now loyal; but the far greater portion of the wealthy classes are still very bitter in their sentiments against the Government, and clutch on to slavery with a lingering hope to save at least a relic of their favorite yet barbarous institution for the future. The former class I most earnestly commend to the forbearance and generosity of the Government, but the spirit of resistance still manifest in the latter should