Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, who is directed to assume command of the First Brigade, Fifth Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Division of the Mississippi, at once.
By order of Colonel R. R. Stewart:
R. B. AVERY,
Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, February 8, 1865.
Major General JOHN M. PALMER:
GENERAL: The President has assigned you to the command of the Department of the Ohio, comprising the State of Kentucky, and constituting a part of the division east of the Mississippi now commanded by Major-General Thomas, to whom, as your immediate superior, you will report. The President desires your attention to be directed to certain matters in relation to the State of Kentucky, which require the earnest application of your vigilance and administrative ability.
First. Inspection reports show the troops of the State of Kentucky to be in a disorganized and undisciplined condition, very much scattered, and so distributed as to be of little service, either to maintain domestic peace or afford security against the rebel military forces. Your first duty will be to correct this evil and to place your troops, both white and black, in a state of discipline and organization that will render them efficient for whatever duty the condition of your command may require. Major-General Burbridge, your predecessor in the District of kentucky, will be relieved form command and ordered to report to Major-General Thomas for duty in the field. You will make yourself well acquainted with the capacity of your subordinate officers and designate to the Department any whom it may be desirable should be relieved from duty in your command. The location and the distribution of your troops and their general military duties will be directed by Major-General Thomas, to whom you will apply for such military instructions as you may from time to time require.
Second. The enlistment of colored troops is an important part of the service, to which you will not fail to direct your immediate attention. Camps have already been established, which you will promptly inspect in person, and cause to be placed under proper police and discipline. The President is grieved to be informed that much hostility still exists in the minds of some evil-disposed persons in the State of Kentucky against the enlistment of colored soldiers, and that, in order to discourage their enlistment, many cases have occurred of their cruel and barbarous treatment and murder. Your hand should be laid heavily upon all outrages of this nature. The Government stands pledged, and will expect its military commanders, of every rank and degree, to full fill that pledge, to give protection and encouragement to colored persons desiring to enlist in the armies of the United States. Whatever resistance or obstacle is thrown in the way of such enlistments constitutes a hostile act against the Government, and should be dealt with accordingly. To the destitute women and children of soldiers in the service of the United States, without regard to color, protection and support should be given, so far as their necessities may require. You will therefore, under proper regulations, be authorized to issue rations of food, also clothing, and afford fuel and shelter to helpless women and children of persons in the service of the United States, whose necessities may