HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., August 28, 1863.
Commanding, Natchez, Miss.:
GENERAL: Colonel Farrar has just called on,me for instructions with regard to recruiting for his regiment. I have just returned from Cairo and not yet reached my headquarters. When I get there I will prepare fuller instructions, and only give some general rules to be observed here. In the first place it is the intention of the Secretary of War that all able bodied negroes that can be reached shall be taken to fill up the colored regiments.
At the same time it is desirable that we should make a wide distinction between the Southern citizens who have been loyal and those who have not; also a distinction between those who have not been loyal, but now express a voluntary willingness to return to their allegiances and employ their negroes in accordance with exerting orders, and those who hold out in their acknowledgment of a Southern Confederacy. I would lay down, then, as a rule, that negroes who have belonged to persons of known loyalty only be recruited as free white persons are; that is, when they come and offer themselves. Of the second class they may be visited by recruiting officers and the option given them to enlist, and the able-bodied negroes of the third class of citizens may be taken possession [of] with or without their own consent.
All negroes who have not been employed in accordance with published orders may be taken to put in the ranks.
In hunting them up the plantations of known loyalty should not be visited. Indeed, I think it advisable that a list of planters and citizens should be made out, whose premises should not be visited for the purpose of securing negroes. I am desirous of seeing the two organization now being raised in Natchez filled up as soon as possible. I hope you will give both of them every facility to of so within these meager instructions. I want the expedition against Harrisonburg to start as soon as possible.
I will see the naval commander here at once and secure his co- operation.
U. S. GRANT,
STEVENON, ALA., August 28, 1863.
Colonel W. HOFFMAN,
Commissary-General of Prisoners:
Your dispatch received. Governor Johnson and myself both think prisoners of war desiring to enlist will number by thousand - certainly many hundreds. If each case is referred to Washington the delay will materially impede of not prevent enlistments. Most of these men were Union men forces into the rebel Army. The original rebels don"t desire to. Will you pleas explain this to Secretary of War and telegraph his answer?
W. S. ROSECRANS,