Then, again, I have been forced to put in their hands arms almost entirely unserviceable and in other respects their equipments have been of the poorest kind. But there is another injustice done to these men, which they appreciate as well and feel as keenly as anybody. It is a mistake to think, that these poor fellows do not understand these matters just as well as we do. They are all the constant subject of conversation among them. The point is this; While other soldiers are fed, clothed, have superior arms, and are paid $13 per month and the non- commissioned officers receive, respectively, $17 and $20, they are fed, have unserviceable arms, and receive $10 per month, from which is deducted $3 for clothing, and no addition whatever for non-commissioned officers, and have no clothing allowance.
Now, general, I assure you that these poor fellows, with all their warm, enthusiastic patriotism-and it is even greater than that of most other troops-are deeply sensible to this gross injustice. It breaks down their "morale," and to an extent which I who command and come into constant constant with them, daily deplore. Instead of thus lowering their "morale" it should be our effort, by just treatment in every respect, to rouses their pride and establish among them a high standard. I have succeeded thus far in soothing them by representing that I have an abiding conviction that Congress will early in its next session do them justice. I think that it would be sufficient to pass a bill giving the privates $10 per month, with clothing allowance of other troops, and the non-commissioned officers the same pay as whites. Five hundred citizens of New Orleans, free, most of them well educated, offered to enlist under my command on the above terms. The service suffers greatly because I could not accept the offer, as it would have enabled me to remedy one of the chief difficulties with which we have to contend, namely, the procuring of non-commissioned officers who can read and write. There is one other notion that muster be eradicated, i.e., that anybody can command negro troops. So far from this, they require a superior grade of officers, though I well know that those prophets who declare that negroes never will make soldiers are striving to force their prophecies to work out their own fulfillment by appointing ignoramuses and boors to be officers over men who are as keensighted as any to notice the shortcomings of those placed over them. Men have been made field officers in this section who are not fit to be non-commissioned officers-men so ignorant that they cannot write three consecutive sentences without violating orthography and syntax.
My own judgment is, that in the great future before us we shall have to draw largely from this element for soldiers, and the sooner we set about it in earnest the better. This will be best accomplished by establishing the better regiments on the same footing and permanence as the Regular Army, if not actually a part of it. The thorough discipline of the branch of the service is needed in this organization, both for officers and men. I desire to assure you, in conclusion, general that my faith in this movement grows stronger day by day. The obstacles which have opposed its progress in the Southwest are altogether exceptional, and have no necessary connection with it. The changes above suggested, and a strong hand in the War Department will sweep them away like cobwebs. Notwithstanding the persistent hostility, open and covert, which strove to defeat my mission here as a pioneer, the progress made in the right direction is