HEADQUARTERS STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
Columbia, July 24, 1862.
Hon. G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I received yours dated 17th instant marked confidential. I have issued an order to the sheriffs and deputies of the different judicial districts of this State, a copy of which is herein inclosed. * I have inquired of the adjutant-general if there are many cases in this State such as your letter has reference to, and he informs me he thinks there are but few of that kind in this State. I deeply regret to know of this source of weakness to our armies. I have known for some time that one great source of disorganization in our forces has been the long furloughs given to supposed cases of permanent illness and wounded men. If we had some safe central place where permanent hospitals were erected on a large scale, one for the east and one for the west, where all sick and wounded could be sent in all cases that required time, it would obviate this difficulty in a great measure. Never let them be sent home unless where it is evident they never can be again fit for service. In that way they would always receive the best medical attendance and be sent back to their post in the earliest possible time. In many cases in the fights, particularly around Richmond, many have been sent home at a very warms time on crowded cars, when no surgeon who discharged his duty ought to have allowed it, for many die on the cars, and are left at the roadside hospitals to languish and finally die, who, if properly taken care of and not allowed to leave, might have been saved and gone back soon to the Army. I most respectfully call your attention to the loose manner in which furloughs have been granted and men sent off. In the Army of the West I believe near 600 came home, or, at least by report sent on, not more than 360 were reported for duty at one time. I have sent a copy of your letter and of my order to local officers to Lieut. Colonel John S. Preston, your enrolling officer for this State, to receive from him any suggestions he may have. It will afford me great pleasure to do anything in my power to aid or strengthen your in effecting the purposes you desire. I would most respectfully suggest that the conscripts now here in camp be immediately sent on to you, for they can be trained better and quicker by being assigned to different regimice than here, and if kept here they will become totally disorganized, and you will lose many of them. I earnestly call your attention to this point.
I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
F. W. PICKENS.
Jackson, Miss., July 26, 1862. (Received August 7.)
Hon. G. W. RANDOLPH:
SIR: Your confidential letter in regard to men and officers absent from duty was received this morning and shall receive prompt attention. No effort shall be spared to fill up the ranks of our armies.
Please say to the President that the arms he sent me have not yet arrived and I have the militia ready waiting for them.