In the middle of December I was compelled to leave the Mississippi River in consequence of sickness. The year's operations may be summed up as follows:
Officers Enlisted men Aggregate
1 regiment of cavalry 22 390 412
4 regiment of heavy 151 3,956 4,107
4 batteries of light 11 385 396
24 regiments of infantry 745 15,767 16,512
1 independent company 3 93 96
Total 932 20,591 21,523
The above numbers are taken from returns in the Adjutant- General's Office, and are below the number actually enlisted, as the loss in battle, by death, and by desertion could not have been less than 5,000. This may seem a large estimate, but it is known that raw troops early contract disease, especially the measles, and it is further known that when the blacks become sick, not having the vitality of the white race, they sink under disease, and the percentage of mortality is very great. The able- bodied men were largely employed in the several staff departments, especially at the principal depots; also by the troops themselves as cooks and servants, and some commanders organized them into pioneer parties without being mustered into the service of the United States. Many, induced by high wages, took employment on the transports; others, again, readily found employment as wood-choppers, also as laborers in the towns on the river. Admiral Porter stated to me that in the naval fleet under his command he had 1,000 negroes. I state these facts to show why a large number of colored men were not enlisted.
Colonel A. Cummings, Nineteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry, by your directions, reported to me in Philadelphia January 4, 1864, for duty, and I ordered him to Little Rock, Ark., to superintend the recruiting service in that State. He exerted himself, but as the negroes had to a great extent been sent to Texas, comparatively few were obtained; still, some regiments were organized. He was subsequently made a brigadier-general.
While at Louisville, Ky., in the month of January, 1864, I satisfied myself that from 5,000 to 7,000 negroes of Kentucky has passed the border of that State into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Tennessee, and that many of them had enlisted into various organizations, some into regiments being raised in the Eastern States; also that the entire slave population of the State was in a state of ferment. This induced me to proceed to Frankfort, the capital, to present my views to Governor Bramlette. This I did, and fully set forth my opinions, urging them with what ability I possessed. I represented that slavery was forever at an end, to which the Governor assented, and that as the negroes were constantly passing the borders of the State, and it could not be prevented, I urged that I might take the able-bodied men and organize them into troops, whereby the owners of the negroes would receive certificates of their muster and the State receive credit on the quota for the draft. The Governor, while generally assenting to my positions, urged that I would not establish recruiting stations in the State, but desist from my purpose, stating that the subject was