similar one from General Thomas. These recruiting officers went through the northern part of Missouri with armed parties of negroes enlisting all who would go with them without regard to the loyal of their masters, and in some instances, I am informed, forcing them away. Of course this could not fail to produce intense excitement, and I was compelled to put a stop to it.
General Ewing has authority, given by the Secretary of War at my request, to raise one regiment in his district. he has been able to make but little progress so far, but I have no doubt will raise the regiment in time.
The first regiment raised absorbed all the negroes fit for military duty who had been collected a the various posts in Missouri, and which included nearly all those at that time remaining in the State who were unquestionably entitled to their freedom under the confiscation act.
Nearly all those now remaining in the State belong either to loyal men or to men who cannot be proven to have committed any act of disloyalty since the 17th of July, 1862. If it be admitted that a man now, it is impossible to decide without judicial proceedings whether the act of July 17 applies or not in a are majority of cases that arise. Moreover, under the confused notions as to what constitutes loyalty which now exist, the officers engaged in recruiting are about as likely to decide one man to be disloyal as another.
I believe the able-bodied negroes in Missouri will be worth more to the Government as soldiers than they are to their masters as laborers, and that this is the general opinion among slave owners in the State. Moreover, I believe it would be a great benefit to the State as well as to the negro to have him transformed from a slave into a soldier.
I respectfully suggest that it might be wise policy to enlist alliable bodied negroes in Missouri who may be willing to enter the service, giving tot heir masters receipts upon which those who established their loyalty may base a claim upon the Government for the value of the service lost. Those masters whose loyalty is undoubted might perhaps be paid immediately out of the substitute fund, and the doubtful cases left for future settlement.
If the Government decides to adopt such policy, I shall be glad to carry it out.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
[Inclosure Numbers 1.] MEMPHIS, TENN., September 21, 1863.
Major General J. M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: It is very desirable that another regiment of African descent should be organized with as little delay as possible in the State of Missouri. I have therefore to request that you will give such facilities to recruiting officers in your department as will hasten his object, and that you will instruct the officers of your respective staff departments to furnish without delay all supplies that may be called for on proper requisitions.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,