War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0100 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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musters will be made in accordance with the orders given in reference to the troops authorized by the instructions from this office of January 13, 1863.

I am, general, &c.,

THOS. M. VINCENT,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, March 25, 1863.

Brigadier General L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

GENERAL: The exigencies of the service require that an inspection should be made of the armies, military posts, and military operations in the West. You will therefore make arrangements immediately to perform that service. Without entering into any minute details I beg to direct your attention to the following subjects of investigation:

First. On arriving at Cairo you will make a careful examination of the military condition of that post in the various branches of service, and report to this Department the result of your investigation, suggesting whatever in your opinion the service may require. You will observe particularly the condition of that class of population known as contrabands - the manner in which they are received, provided for, and treated by the military authorities - and give such directions to the commissionary and quartermaster's departments, and to the officer commanding, as shall in your judgment be necessary to secure to them humane and proper treatment in respect to food, clothing, compensation for their service, and whatever is necessary to enable them to support themselves and to furnish useful service in any capacity to the Government.

Second. You will make similar observation at Columbus, Memphis, and other posts on your progress to the headquarters of General Grant's army.

Third. The President desires that you should confer freely with Major-General Grant and the officers with whom you may have communication and explain to them the importance attached by the Government to the use of the colored population emancipated by the President's proclamation, and particularly for the organization of their labor and military strength. You will cause it to be understood that no officer in the U. S. service is regarded as in the discharge of his duties under the acts of Congress, the President's proclamation, and the orders of this Department, who fails to employ to the utmost extent the aid and co-operation of the loyal colored population in performing the labor incident to military operations, and also in performing the duties of soldiers under proper organization, and that any obstacle thrown in the way of these ends is regarded by the President as a violation of the acts of Congress and the declared purposes of the Government in using every means to bring the wear to an end.

Fourth. You will ascertain what military officers are willing to take command of colored troops; ascertain their qualifications for that purpose, and if troops can be raised and organized you will, so far as can be done without prejudice to the service, relieve officers and privates for the service in which they are engaged, to receive commission such as they may be qualified to exercise in the organization