Today in History:

4 Series I Volume XXXIV-IV Serial 64 - Red River Campaign Part IV


5. The receipt of orders and official communications (except letters of acknowledgment) will be acknowledged by the first opportunity after their receipt, and the action taken upon such as require it will be reported.

The above orders will also apply to the posts embraced in War Department Special Orders, Numbers 171, paragraph 52, of the 7th instant; but these requirements will not be so construed as to supersede or modify the relations now existing with the commanders of the departments in which the troops may be serving. The attention of commanding officers is called to the necessity of furnishing without delay returns of troops and reports of supplies, in order that the commanding general may be promptly and constantly advised of the resources of the division.

By order of Major General E. R. S. Canby:


Major, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Natchez, Miss., May 23, 1864.

Commanders of departments and districts, after providing adequately for the security of the posts it is necessary to hold, are charged with the duty of organizing as large a reserve force for service in the field as possible. The troops to be employed on this duty will be selected from those that from organization and discipline will be the most effective, and will be organized and equipped with as little delay as possible. All details from these troops for extra or special service at posts, depots, or hospitals will at once be relieved, and the men sent to their regiments and companies, their places being supplied, as far as practicable, by hired men or by non-effectives. The number of clerks, orderlies, &c., will be reduced whenever it is practicable. The posts to be retained will be limited to those that are of vital importance, and they will be so fortified, garrisoned, and supplied as to be able to resist a siege. Convalescents and other non-effectives will be organized into detachments organizations that are in the field, or designated for field service, will be forwarded as rapidly as possible. Efficiency and mobility will be secured by rejecting everything not essential to these conditions. The clothing issued will be limited to the suit which the soldier wears, a change of underclothing, and an extra pair of shoes. Coats will not be issued when blouses can be supplied, and the articles to be carried in the trains will be limited to such quantities as may be necessary to meet probable accidental losses. Camp equipage will in like manner be reduced to the lowest possible limit.

Shelter-tents only will be issued to the troops of this command. All cumbrous articles of mess equipage, regimental and company desks will be left behind, and the records, papers, &c., absolutely necessary in the field will be packed in the lightest and most compact form. The equipment of officers will correspond to that of the men, and everything in excess of the established allowance will be rejected by the inspector. No person not in the military service of the United States will be allowed to accompany any force operating in the field.