In the district I have traversed since leaving Athens, Ga., the poorer classes will be apt to suffer for provisions until the wheat crop is gathered unless the rich divide with them, which they show but little inclination to do anywhere in the South. I do not think it advisable that any authority should be granted by military commanders for the formation of armed police bodies for local protection in the South, as such authority will in most cases, I think, militate against the poor whites and negroes, who are and always have been our friends, in favor of the wealthy, who have always been and still are our enemies. No protection should be afforded that cannot be given by garrisons of our troops. There is an abundance of corn in Southwestern Georgia and Southern Alabama to feed these poor people if the railroads were repaired. The new corn crop is so promising everywhere that I think there will be a large surplus the coming year. All the suffering for food that will occur in the South will occur within the next three or four months. I find on further inquiry that General Bragg and staff were not released, but sent under an escort of a sergeant and ten men of the Fifteen Pennsylvania Cavalry to report to General Wilson. You have, no doubt, before this received information of the capture of Jefferson Davis, of which I was apprised day before yesterday by the inclodes dispatch from Colonel Throwbridge, of the Tenth Michigan. There may of course be still some doubt of the matter, but I regard the information as entirely reliable, as I have had it confirmed from various sources. Davis appears to have been captured at Irwinton [Irwinvill], south of Milledgeville, on the 11th [10th] instant, by Colonel Pritchard, of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and to have passed through Atlanta for Augusta on the morning of the 14th instant. I inclose a letter from General Wilson, dated at Macon on the 9th, showing the dispositions he had made to arrest Davis.* The proclamation he refers to I had printed in Athens, and have posted it in handbills everywhere from the Oconee to the Coasa, and from Allatoona south to Talladega. If Davis is captured, the only object in the First Brigade remaining along its present line would be to arrest other fugitive parties. I sent a company of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry yesterday from Jacksonville to Montgomery, Ala., to communicate with the commanding officer of the U. S. forces at that point. I have managed to keep tolerable well mounted thus far, but unless my animals are rested now I fear the First Brigade will become rapidly dismounted. I would therefore recommend that as soon as it thought that the brigade is no longer needed along this line ot be ordered to Huntsville, Alas., to recruit. It would probably be difficult to march to Chattanooga in consequence of the scarcity of forage on the roads leading thereto. General Brown, with his own and Miller's brigades, is now posted along the line of the Savannah River, but was ordered to move to Greenvilee, S. C., and vicinity (under General Stoneman's previous instructions) as soon as forage should become scarce along the Savannah. General Brown remained near Washington, Ga., with one brigade until the paroling of Dibrell's command (Davis escort), some 3,000 in number, was completed by an officer sent from General Wilson oft that purpose. One brigade of Grieson's cavalry is at Talladegan.
I am, major, yours, respectfully,
WM. J. PALMER,
Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General, Commanding.
Assistant Adjutant General, Hdqrs. District of East Tennessee.
* See Wilson to Palmer, Part II.