OFFICE OF ASSISTANT QUARTERMASTER,
Meridian, Miss., May 18, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel G. C. SAWTELLE,
Chief Quartermaster, Mill. Divc. of West Mississippi, Mobile, Ala.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following for your consideration: In this district of country there are many small farmers in indigent circumstance, caused in a great measure by the impressments of their stock and produce by the Confederate authorities. Many of these small farms are owned by widows with large families of children, and they are unable to cultivate their farms, having neither horses, mules, nor work oxen. Most of them have planted a few acres of corn, which now requires plowing, and this is the season for planting sweet potatoes, which cannot be done without the assistance of the plow. In view of these facts, I would respectfully submit whether it would not be advisable to turn over to this of people a portion of the stock now in my possession. Irrespective of the dictates of humanity, I am of opinion that it will be economy to do so, for if these people cannot raise food to support themselves and families during the coming winter the Government will be necessitated to supply them. I have conversed with very many applicants of this class, and find many cases of aggravated injustice done to these people. For instance, the very mules impressed from them are now in my possession and have never been paid for. It appears that about the beginning of April last Taylor contemplated moving his army to join Johnston, and ordered the impressment of 1,000 mules, to be used as pack animals, and I am credibly informed that in many instances animals were taken out of the plow, and the few that escaped this sweeping impressment were subsequently stolen by the disbanded troops. In the event of this suggestion of mine meeting with your approval, I shall of course use the utmost circumspection in the distribution of these animals, taking care that none but the most destitute and deserving reap any advantage therefrom. in case it be deemed advisable to act I this matter I would respectfully recommend that it be done speedily as possible as the season is far advanced and the corn requires immediate servant,
O. S. COFFIN,
Captain and Assistant Quartermaster.
Respectfully referred to the headquarters of the Army and Division of West Mississippi for instructions. I recommend that a loan of the animals turned over to us be made to the poor and destitute that suffering be prevented.
HENRY C. HODGES,
Captain and Assistant Chief of Quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NATCHEZ,
Natchez, Miss., May 18, 1865.
Colonel M. YOMANS,
Commanding Troops in the Field, Natchez, Miss.:
COLONEL: The brigadier-general commanding directs that you will as early practicable to-morrow morning put the troops of your command on the march to Washington, Miss. Upon your arrival at that