War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0124 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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from the Provost-Marshal-General's Office, are hereby amended accordingly.

The clause of the circular letter of the 8th of February, 1864, above referred to, requiring the "original" of each certificate of deposit to be forwarded to the Treasurer of the United States, is also hereby amended so as to read as follows, viz, and the "original" of each certificate will be forwarded to the Honorable Secretary of the Treasury of the United States.



CHATTANOOGA, TENN., February 20, 1864.


Secretary of War:

Colonel Eaton, Ninth Louisiana Colored Regiment, superintendent of freedmen on the Mississippi, has deemed it expedient to join me in East Tennessee, to report the condition of affairs in that section of country. Since Mr. Mellen has taken charge of the abandoned plantations, instead of reorganizing what had already been done under my instructions for the present year, he required all permits to be revoked, and introduced a system the workings of which the men of experience on the river assert to be impracticable. The consequence is that a large number of persons who had selected plantations have become dissatisfied and are rapidly leaving the country, returning the freedmen upon our hands for support. May not too great and impracticable changes break the good faith of the Government and create a most injurious distrust? The system adopted by Colonel Eaton has now the result of experience, and works well. My system of taking the abandoned plantations for the purpose of giving employment to the blacks, under all the disadvantages, which have been many, has also worked well. Under these plans, with such modifications as experience has taught us, the Treasury agents and the military authorities would have worked in harmony. Then the blacks advancing and the plantations are being given up by the lessees, I fear will have many thousand blacks to feed and clothe. It is said Mr. Mellen has gone to Washington to ask for a large appropriation of money, for which I can see no necessity, as under my system many thousand dollars have been placed in the Treasury with little expense to the Government.

I shall immediately proceed down the river (Mississippi). Fortunately, my arrangements in this State are nearly completed. A telegram will reach me at Nashville. I do not wish to have anything to do with the abandoned plantations, but if the Government will send a commission, or appoint Mr. Field to take charge, I and furnish all the labor required. I consider the negroes under my control-furnishing, of course, labor under the calls of the Treasury agents; but Mr. Mellen assumes that they are entirely under him, and he desires to issue orders accordingly. The military authorities must have command of the negroes or there will be an endless confusion. I will keep this control unless ordered to the contrary.


Brigadier and Adjutant General.