LAKE PROVIDENCE, LA., April 9, 1863. (Received 7.40 p. m. 15th.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
I arrived at this place early yesterday morning and made arrangements for addressing Generals McArthur's and Logan's divisions, of General McPherson's army corps. I announced to the former division in the morning, 4,000 being present, the policy of the Government respecting the black race, and in the afternoon to General Logan's division, some seven thousand. The troops received it with great enthusiasm, and many speeches were made by offices of different rank, fully indorsing the policy. I must refer to the eloquent remarks of General Logan, who not only fully indorsed my own remarks, but went far beyond them, stating most emphatically that he would never return to his home, from which his wife and child had been driven by an unnatural father, until this wicked rebellion shall be utterly crushed. I asked, from each of these divisions, officers to raise two negro regiments, but the difficulty will be to restrict them to that number, for a least ten regiments can be obtained. My first arrangements are for ten regiments, and after these shall have been raise further arrangements will be made for others. Ten thousand pair of negro shoes of large size should at once be forwarded to Memphis. Also arms for that number, including those which may be in the depot at that place. I shall write to Captain Eddy to make requisition for clothing for ten thousand men. I have overtaxed my strength and am far from well, but hope a day or two rest may recruit my energies.
MILLIKEN'S BEND, April 12, 1863. (Received 9 p. m. 16th.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
I arrived here, the headquarters of General Grant, yesterday, but am too weak to leave the steamer. To-morrow I hope to address the troops. The policy respecting the negroes having been adopted, commanding officers are perfectly willing and ready to afford every aid in arraying it out a successful issue. The west bank of the Mississippi being under our control, General Grant will send forage parties to the east bank to collect the blacks, mules, &c., for military and agricultural purposes. We shall obtain all that we require. I shall find no difficulty in organizing negro troops to the extent of 20,000, if necessary. The prejudice in this army respecting arming the negroes is fast dying out. The transports are not used for quartering troops or officers. A quartermaster's and commissary boat loaded with supplies is with each division, and the proper staff officers are with their supplies on these boasts. I am engaged in ferreting out some cotton speculations. Most of the rascalitis in this respect took place nearly in the season and are now beyond my reach. I send by mail the plan for occupying the abandoned plantations. To have fully effected this I should have been here weeks since.