and dangerous one, and the men composing the force are loyal and patriotic, but for many reasons best known to themselves are averse to entering the army. We are often complelled tor ecruit largely at the North and succeed among the class mentioned, because they are willing to endure hardship and danger and can do so in a way they understand by entering our service, and because in this service there is an implied contract, that they shall not be called upon to shoulder a musket. I have no hesitation in saying that I can set at any moment a large force at work intrenching and rendering other aid of a similar character, but theyw ould have to go as civilians and be guarded while at work. Our force are (if I may be allowed to say it) celebrated for their readiness to assist in every way in s uch emergencies, but they have always gone out under and have preserved their own organizations, working under their own foreman, &c.; so much for that part of the subject.
Now for another point. I am here with a railroad force, responsible for moving trains, &c., and for a large amount of Government property. Our service is an anomaly in war, but you know that they are not quartermaster's men in the ordinary sense of the word. Now should an emergency happed (which God forbid) while my men were all out intrenching, by or on account of which General Thomas should want every article of Government property immediately moved-say across the Cumberland-what would he say to me if I had to tgell him I had no men; that I had sent them out because the quartemaster's men were ordered out and I though I would help them? Am I not entitled to some express and positive directions from him b efore abandoning even temporarily my responsibilities here? These are all questions which suggest themselves to my mind and somewhat embarrass me in replying to your letter as cordially as I could wish to. I hope that you will not imagine either that my force is at all lukewarm in this matter; they have too fequently encountered dangers to be suspected of that; but I wish them to be just where they ought to be, and have therefore made these suggestions. I have ordered every "head of a force" under me to supply every one of his men with picks, shovels, and axes and to await orders, and am anxious for them to co-operate and assist in every way consistent with a proper regard for their own immediate duties.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. L. WENTZ,
General Supt. Military Railroads, Mil. Div. of the Mississippi.
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Numbers 1.
Pulaski, Tenn., January 1, 1865.
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V. The following-named regiments are hereby assigned to the Fourth Division, Twentieth Army Corps, and will render the desired reports and returns to Major General L. H. Rousseau, commanding: Forty-fifth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Missouri Volunteer Infantry.
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By command of Major-General Thomas:
HENRY M. CIST,