my request. I have made requisition on Colonel Charles S. Lovell, but he has no force to give me, and now I would respectfully refer the matter to you for orders.
J. M. TILLAPAUGH,
HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION,
Murfreesborough, June 3, 1863
Honorable E. M. STANTON
Secretary of War:
SIR: The movement of arming the blacks of the rebellious States organized by you has long occupied my attention. All my experience during more, than twenty months" service in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, has tended to impress me with both the wisdom and necessity of fighting the rebellion with its own weapons sincere conviction, together with a firm belief, founded, upon extensive and careful observations in the aptitude of the negroes for military service, induces me to address you a respectful but unofficial inquiry as to how an application to raise a mounted force of blacks would be received by the Department.
As far as my information goes the effort to organize colored troops has been confined up to the present time to the infantry arm. What I have seen of the blacks in the above-mentioned States, and I believe I have seen as much of them as any officer in the Western armies, has satisfied, me that they will be found peculiarly qualified for the mounted service. They are almost without exception good rides and accustomed to the care of animals.
Their excellent facilities of imitation and habits of obedience render them readily susceptible of drill and discipline. Their simple wants and fine physical development, produced by hard and continuous labor, fit them well for the endurance of the hardships incidental to the arduous duties of the cavalry in this war. Their keen sense of locality and familiarity with their native regions make them invaluable as scouts and for flying expeditions into the interior of the enemy's country.
With a few regiments of picked, well-mounted, even though indifferently drilled,men, I am persuaded I could penetrate farther into the rebel country, and with the aid of the active sympathies the appearance of black troops would naturally excite among the preponderating slave population, do much more toward upsetting the abnormal fabric of the rebellion than any white troops have as yet attempted or accomplished.
What I would wish is your impression as to the propriety or feasibility of recruiting, from the contrabands now being and likely to be within our lines select men enough to form a brigade of cavalry. I am aware that the scarcity of material in this department at this time renders the immediate realization of the plan all but impracticable. It will however undoubtedly become feasible before long by an advance of our lines farther south. I would propose to mount the men if possible, at the expense of the enemy. In this event arms and uniforms will be all I should ask of the Government.
As you perhaps know, I have been in command of a brigade of cavalry for nearly a year. I can confidently refer to my former and