War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1126 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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In submitting this report, during the absence of the Quartermaster-General of the Army, I have endeavored to confine myself to those subjects immediately connected with the duties of the office and of the officers of the department, leaving to be submitted hereafter such information as may be obtained and be required by the War Department or by Congress.

CHARLES THOMAS,

Colonel, Acting Quartermaster-General.

STATE OF DELAWARE, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Dover, December 4, 1863.

In conformity with the above order,* and to carry the same into effect, recruiting stations are hereby by established at the following places, to wit: At Wilmington, in New Castle County; at Smyrna, in Kent County; at Milford, in Kent County; at Georgetown, in Sussex County. Enlistments will hereafter be opened and recruiting officers designated to conduct the same.

By order of His Excellency William Cannon, Governor of Delaware:

SAMUEL M. HARRINGTON, JR.,

Secretary of State.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, CORPS D" AFRIQUE,

Port Hudson, December 4, 1863

Honorable HENRY WILSON,

Senator of the United States, Washington, D. C.:

MY DEAR GENERAL: I have long had it in view to write to you, as the head of the Military Committee of the Senate, on a subject of grave importance, namely the organization of colored troops.

You are well acquainted with my status in the premises. I have had every opportunity during the last seven months to examine this policy in all its bearings.

The first point to settle is whether it be intended to make these men soldiers or mere laborers; if the latter the mode pursued is the right one, and I have nothing more to say. If the former, then there are some vital changes to be made. I fear that many high officials outside of Washington have no other intention than that these men shall be used as diggers and drudges. Now, I am well satisfied from my seven months" intercourse with them that with just treatment they can be made soldiers of as high an average as any in the world. Their qualifications in most respects, are equal to any and in one superior to wit, their habit of subordination. All that is necessary is to give them a fair chance, which has not been done. Since I have been in command such has been the amount of fatigue work thrust upon the organization that it has been with the utmost difficulty that any time could be set aside for drill. Months have passed at times without all. The amount of actual labor performed by these men has been enormous. Much of it was done by them in the trenches during the siege of this place whilst more exposed to the severe fire of the enemy than any other of our troops. They discharged their duties with cheerfulness, alacrity, and marked courage.

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*See General Orders, Numbers 329, Adjutant-General's Office, October 3, 1863, p. 860, and modifications to same, October 12,15, and 26, pp.876,887, 925.

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