[Inclosure Numbers 2.] HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA, Barrancas, March 4, 1865.
Brigadier General JOHN P. HAWKINS,
Commanding First Division, U. S. Colored Troops:
GENERAL: In regard to your desire that the Twenty-fifth and Eighty-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry Regiments be relieved from duty and ordered to report to you at the camp of your division, I beg leave to give the following explanation: First. Special Orders, Numbers 54, headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi, dated February 23, giving the number of regiments intended for the organization of your division comprises in the First Brigade three regiments stationed here for the last year, namely, the Twenty-fifth, the Eighty-second, and the Eighty-sixth Regiments. Second. The Twenty-fifth Regiment is garrisoning Fort Pickens, Barrancas, the redoubt, and guarding Gun-boat Point, at the mouth of the Bayou Grande above the navy-yard. The Eighty-second and Eighty-sixth are busily engaged in completing the line of fortifications between the beach and Fort Barrancas, Barrancas and redoubt, and redoubt and Bayou Grande, and it is important that this work is done before the troops take the field. Third. I have no other troops at my disposal to relieve and replace these three regiments in the several forts and on the line of fortifications. Fourth. I have received no orders to relieve those three regiments from duty with this district, which would leave all the forts without garrison, and prevent the completion of the line of fortifications.
Under these embarrassing circumstances I consider it the best expedient that these regiments continue to remain at their present duties, and that the Seventy-third U. S. Colored Infantry, just arrived, be encamped near the Eighty-second and Eighty-sixth, in order to have the regiments of the First Brigade of your division united as much as possible preparatory to their taking the field. I feel inclined, general, that you will agree to these my views, pending the daily expected arrival of Major-General Canby, commanding, and his final orders in the matter.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
New Orleans, La., March 4, 1865.
Bvt. Major General B. H. GRIERSON,
Commanding Cavalry Forces, Military Division of West Mississippi:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to inform you that the following-named regiments have been ordered to be relieved from their present duties and directed to report to you, with a view of being equipped for service in the field: Third Michigan Cavalry and Tenth Illinois Cavalry, now in Department of Arkansas; Fourth Illinois Cavalry, Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, Twelfth Illinois Cavalry, First Iowa Cavalry, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, Eleventh New York Cavalry, Second New Jersey Cavalry, now in Department of the Mississippi; Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry and First Texas Cavalry, now in Department of the Gulf. These regiments number is all about 7,000 effective men. All officers and enlisted men on detached service have been ordered to