War of the Rebellion: Serial 104 Page 0878 KY., S.W. VA., TENN., N. & C. MISS., ALA., & W. FLA.

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COLUMBUS, May 22, 1865.

(Received 10.20 a.m. 23rd.)

Major-General SMITH:

I arrived here on the 20th. Have sent Thirteenth Indiana to Macon. Have reported to General Canby.


Brevet Major-General.

COLUMBUS, MISS., May 22, 1865.

Major-General GRIERSON,

Commanding U. S. Troops at Columbus, Miss.:

SIR: The undersigned, being citizens of long residence in Columbus and vicinity, would respectfully submit the following statement of facts for your consideration, and the evils growing out of them, and request that such remedy may be applied for correction of evils as your high sense of propriety may dictate and the exigencies of the country may demand: We have witnessed with pleasure, since your arrival, the effort on your part, its success, in preserving order and harmony in our community, and in saving so successfully the citizens from those depredations which usually result from the passage of large bodies of soldiers through the country. It speaks well, both for the soldiery and their commanders. The unfortunate war which has desolated the country (as we conceive being now over) leaving the country almost in state of anarchy from the storm which has so long raged, it will require time to settle down into a healthful and prosperous condition, together with all the prudence and forbearance of good citizens to aid the military to give it quiet and repose, and we cordially tender to you all the influence we posses to produce this desirable result.

We have seen with regret that large bodies of negroes, both male and female, are leaving their homes in the country, and congregating in Columbus in great numbers, without food or employment. We rear the consequence will that they will become demoralized and prepared for any acts of crime or violence. Large quantities of growing crops, of provisions and cotton, now fully half cultivated, and which will be required, both for the white and black population of the State, and the commerce of the country during the next winter, will be entirely lost, and all law and order will, in a great degree, be destroyed. Under all the circumstances, we are constrained to place ourselves and families under your protection, and respectfully ask, if consistent with your sense of propriety and duty, by an order properly enforced, to keep the negroes on the plantations, where they have food and shelter, and prevent their assembling in such large numbers in the city, until the Government shall adopt and promulgate general rules and regulations for such changes in their relations as may be deemed consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States. By retaining to some extent the present relation, until a new one shall be inaugurated by the Government, much of the evil, both political and moral, which would necessarily follow a change of the present relation of the negro, will be averted, and the true interest and happiness of both classes of society greatly promoted.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,