Meridian, Miss., May 17, 1865.
Captain R. G. CURTIS,
CAPTAIN: I beg leave respectfully to report to you for the consideration of the commanding general the present condition of the people of this part of the State of Mississippi, and also to offer some suggestions with reference to the subject; The raids on the part of our army and impressments on the part of the Confederate authorities have almost entirely stripped the country of horses and mules, leaving citizens, as well as returning soldiers, wholly without the means of planting and cultivating corps; consequently heavy have nothing to anticipate but starvation, for the want of mules and horses. Many returned soldiers, as well as citizens, will have no employment, and as idleness can only be productive of evil, it would certainly be politic to adopt a remedy. The greater number of those who have returned and are returning to their homes,with remunerative employment to divert their minds from the causes and consequences of war, would become good and law abounding citizens, while upon the other hand the reverse can only be expected. I would, therefore, beg leave to suggest that all the mules,, horses and other property turned in by the Confederate authorities at the various points that may be necessary to supply the immediate wants of the people, be at once inspected, appraised, and sold at the appraisement value to commissioners for each county, to be by them distributed to the best advantage for good, payable at such times as the state of the currency will make practicable. Unless some immediate and general plan is adopted to furnish the needy with subsistence, immense suffering, if not starvation, will ensue. To issue rations to the few who can apply to the military posts is but an aggravation of the evil, as many get them that are not deserving, while hundreds that are are deprived of the privilege. The people, so far as I can learn, have been led to believe that the U. S. authorities would distribute the commissary stores turned in by the Confederates, to relieve the immediately and pressing wants of the people (see General Orders, Numbers 54, inclosed)* and any delay on the part of our authorities to take some definite may result in general riot and lawlessness, which, for the honor and welfare of the country, now and in the future, should be promptly guarded against. It would be preferable, in my opinion, to issue to individuals.
Hoping that I may be pardoned for making this report and offering these suggestions, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Forty-sixth Illinois Infantry, Commanding Post.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST FLORIDA,
Barrancas, May 17, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Asst. Adjt. General Army and Division of West Mississippi:
COLONEL: I had the honor to forward with report of April 27, Numbers 343, resolutions of a meeting held a month ago at Andulasia, Covington County, Ala., and signed by 280 citizens who had returned to their allegiance and applied to the United States for protection.