HDQRS. ARMY AND DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
Dannelly's Mills, March 23, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. B. HINSDILL:
COLONEL: Colonel Christensen will furnish you, for your information, a copy of an order issued to-day in regard to foraging parties while en route.* You will please observe that no receipts shall be given, and as this is to be the policy of the major-general commanding, you will please instruct the officers of your department accordingly. We probably will leave here to-morrow, and it will be several days before direct communication with Fort Gaines can be had again. Have assorted cargoes of rations prepared in time to be forwarded to the troops as soon as another basis is established. Perhaps it would be well to have one boat so laden at the mouth of Fish River, subject to further order.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Chief of Staff.
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS ARMY AND DIVISION FIELD ORDERS,
OF WEST MISSISSIPPI, Numbers 8. March 23, 1865.
Whenever it shall be deemed necessary for the troops of this command to subsist wholly or in part upon the resources of the country through which the army marches, the following rules will be strictly observed: The collection of such supplies will be made by regularly detailed parties from each regiment or battery. The respective commanders will select from 6 to 10 perceent. of their effective strength as foragers, and will give them in charge of one or more commissioned officers, at the rate of one officer to every thirty or thirty-five men. These officers must be held strictly responsible for the behavior of their parties. Great care should therefore be taken in the selection of the officers and men. The officers should not only be energetic and zealous, but also discreet and strict disciplinarians, as it is left to their judgment when, where, and what supplies should be seized. Only the real wants of the troops are to be considered, and all wanton and reckless acts must be suppressed with vigor. The collections ought to be made from the greatest possible number of plantations, in order to divide and thus alleviate the heavy burden on the country. The premises of poor and destitute people must not be interfered with. No foraging parties will be allowed, except on the special written authority of a division or superior commander, to enter dwelling houses, kitchens, & c., nor to disturb the people in the possession of their furniture or supplies necessary for their immediate wants. Horses, mules, and wagons will only be taken by special authority from the proper officer. All articles collected will be brought to the roadside and loaded on the wagons selected for that purpose from the division trains. On arrival in camp the proper officers of the supply departments will distribute the stores. No receipt will be given for any article seized. The lands to the right and left of the marching column will be the legitimate field of operations of these forage parties, and the officers in charge must, whenever they are compelled to go beyond the regular flank detachments, secure their men against surprise and capture. The foragers of the leading divisions will under no circumstances go in advance of the advance guard. Parties sent to collect grain and fodder for the animals
* See next, post.