run away and attach themselves to the commands of those who have the authorities referred to. They never organize, report to nobody, are responsible to no one, and exist by plunder and robbery. Their may, perhaps, be a few exceptions, but as a general thing men who besiege the Department for such authorities are officers without position or command, who by flattering representations, recommendations, and influential friends avoid the ranks by obtaining authorities to raise troops within the enemy's lines. I venture the assertion that where one succeeds and organizes a command ninety-nine fail, and that they one succeeds and organizes a command ninety-nine fail, and that they take twenty men ut of the army to one placed in it. I therefore unhesitatingly recommend that all parties holding such authorities or are acting under orders from those who do hold them be ordered to report with what men they have to the nearest department commander within a limited period for consolidation and organization, and those failing so to report to have their authorities revoked and themselves subjected to conscription whenever caught. Do not understand me as reflecting on General Johnson or General Lyon. They did all they could no doubt to carry out the objects of the Department in their district. They have failed, and the fact to my mind is demonstrated most cleary that the conscripts and deserters in West Tennessee and Kentucky will never come out until brought out by force. It all authorities to raise troops in enemy's links are revoked and the mustering officers ordered out, troops can be occasionally sent in under good and reliable officers to arrest and bring out deserters and break up the bands of lawless men who not only rob the citizens themselves, but whose presence in the contra gives a pretext to Federal authority for oppressing the people.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Meridian, March 23, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded, approving the views and recommendations of Major-General Forrest.
HEADQUARTERS FORREST'S CAVALRY CORPS,
West Point, Miss., March 18, 1865.
Colonel E. SURGET,
COLONEL: I have the honor to state that a few days since I directed Brigadier-General Wright to order out of West Tennessee a number of officers purporting to have authorities to raise troops between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years. In reply I received from General Wright a letter, an extract from which I respectfully inclose. I of course was not aware that Colonel Looney or any one else held authority from the lieutenant-general commanding to raise new commands in West Tennessee, and from a conversation had with him am not yet satisfied that they have such orders from department headquarters. In regard to Colonel Looney, I desire to say that he was a friend and fellow-townsman of mine before the war, a lawyer, and an out-and-out war man. He raised a regiment, fell out with General Bragg at Shiloh, got out of his command, and has done nothing since. He has been