Washington, February 12, 1863.
General Grant is authorized to enroll, enlist, organize, and muster into the service of the United States one or more cavalry regiments, one regiment of mounted riflemen, one artillery battery, and any number of infantry to the amount of three regiments. The said force to be armed, equipped, and organized according to the rule and regulations of the service and such regulation as at the instance of General Grant may be prescribed by the President, and be employed as rangers and in such other service as may be prescribed, their term of service to be for three years or during the war, and to be officered by persons appointed by the President upon the recommendation of General Grant.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, February 12, 1863.
Brigadier General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: In compliance with the instructions contained in the letter from the Adjutant-General's Office of January 16, 1863, I have the honor to state that the number of persons of African descent enrolled in the military service in this department is as follows:
First Louisiana Native Guards, infantry......... 955
Second Louisiana Native Guards, infantry........ 976
Third Louisiana Native Guards, infantry......... 996
Company A, Louisiana Native Guards, artillery... 129
Fourth Louisiana Native Guards,
in process of organization, recruits............ 195
The three regiments first named have ten companies each; their field and staff officers are white men, but they have negro company officers, whom I am replacing, as vacancies occur, by white ones, being entirely satisfied that the appointment of colored officers is detrimental to the service.
It converts what, with judicious management and good officers, is capable of much usefulness into a source of constant embarrassment and annoyance. It demoralizes both the white troops and the negroes. The officers of the Fourth Regiment will be white men.
It is progressing favorably.
Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. P. BANKS,
Washington City, D. C., February 13, 1863.
Your suggestion as to officering the colored regiments has been under consideration and remained unanswered until the action of