ostensibly engaged since 1862 in raising a regiment. He has not succeeded, nor do I believe, even under the most favorable circumstances, he ever will succeed. I hope, therefore, that all such officers may be ordered to report to department headquarters, that the authorities given them may be revoked, and they be put in the service. Colonel L. is a stout, able man, ha splayed around long enough, and it is due to himself, his family, and the country that he should go into the Army, and into the ranks, if he can do no better. I herewith inclose a letter to the honorable Secretary of War, which I hope the lieutenant-general commanding will indorse and forward.* If all men engaged in raising commands were ordered into the ranks, and all squads and unattached companies not regularly in the service were outlawed, we would get ten men to fill up our old commands to where we now get one. Those we could not run down and catch the Federals would drive out to us. At any rate, we would rid ourselves of the odium attached tot heir paternity, and would not by the people be held responsible for their acts of lawlessness and crime. I do not for a moment question the motives of the honorable Secretary of War or the lieutenant-general commanding in giving these authorities, for every one is naturally desirous of increasing our strength, and willing to do almost anything to accomplish that end. It is not the authority itself, but the abuse of it which is complained of, and in giving them the benefit of my experience and observation as to practical results, I hope I shall not be deemed officious or as assuming to myself superior judgment in such matters; but I speak truly when I say that whenever a paper of the kind is presented to me I can but regard it as na exemption from duty for the war, a license to plunder, and a nest-egg off desertion, all of which is chargeable not to the measures adopted to increase the strength of our Army, but to the men, who not only fail to make good their representations and promises in raising additional troops for the Army, but are actually creating uncontrollable currents of desertion, which are rapidly depleting commands already in the field.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
MARCH 15, 1865.
Colonel Looney was sent to me while in West Tennessee by Lieutenant-General Taylor with written authority from department headquarters to raise and organize a regiment of men between the ageist of eighteen and forty-five years. Subsequently, under General Taylor's order, three of four officers were sent to report to Colonel Looney. I showed Colonel Looney orders from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Richmond, prohibiting the organization of new commands of men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, but I of courts left bound to obey Lieutenant-General Taylor's orders.
Columbus, Miss., March 18, 1865.
Major J. P. STRANGE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, West Point, Miss.:
MAJOR: I am directed by Major D. Winter to inform the major-general commanding that all troops going either to Tuscaloosa or Finch's
*See next, ante.