CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. HEADQUARTERS VOLUNTEER AND CONSCRIPT BUREAU, DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA AND Mississippi, Col. BENJAMIN S. EWELL, Columbus, Miss., September 1, 1863. Assistant Adjutant- General: The report of Captain Flemming of the condition of the country and demoralization of the population and the number of deserters who infest the coast having been laid before me and carefully consid- ered in connection with the operations of this bureau, I feel it my duty to state that I have extended the organization of this bureau as far into that region as I consider it safe and prudent so to do. I have a rendezvous at Columbia and an outpost at Monticello, on Pearl River, and with his knowledge of the country he says I have gone as far as it is safe to do in that direction with a post. His estimate is that there are from 3,000 to 5,000 men in that region, of whom he thinks 500 are deserters. The only means of reach- ing those men and of breaking up the demoralizing trade which they are carrying on with the enemy would be to direct Col- onel Logan with his command of cavalry to move as if on a reconnaissance down upon the coast; being there, to spread over the country and move out east, sweeping and bringing out all that he can gather. He would probably in this way bring out from 300 to 500 deserters and conscripts who ought to be brought to the railroad and turned over to the army, or be sent to the army of General Bragg. The cavalry force (two regiments) originally ordered to my support were so reduced in numbers as to constitute a very inadequate sup- porting force for so extended an organization. I have one company of it at Columbia and one at Monticello. These companies number only about forty men; they cannot leave their posts for so distant service and if they could they would, united, be entirely too weak for the movement. If General Johnston thinks proper to order the move- ment, I have given Captain Flemming orders to proceed with the command and to direct its route, & c. My organization is about com- plete. I could use to great benefit to the service additional officers. I hare not received as many officers from General Johnstons army as the order should have brought me. Only 218 have reported, when according to the number of regiments and battalions in his army I ought to have received over 300. My organ.ization would be more efficient with more officers. From what General Bragg said to me on the eve of my departure for this State I expected a larger detail from him than has come. However, in a very few days more, when the work shall have fairly begun, the men will pour into General Johnstons army in great numbers. I learn already that the trains are going down pretty well crowded. Many men will run back into the army to escape arrest by my officers. I am satisfied that there will be much confusion at Meridian, and many escape unless a distributing office is established there and a regiment put on duty to receive and distribute those sent forward without admixture with the crowd at depot. Very respectfully your obedient servant, GID. J. PILLOW, Brig. Gen., C. S. Army, Supt. Volunteer and Conscript Bureau. One rendezvous reports as the work of six days 114 men returned to the army.
MORTON, September 2, 1863. General S. COOPER, Richmond: There are several bodies of troops in the northern part of the State which were called out by the Governor. They have never been mustered into C. S. service, and their status is uncertain, in consequence of which they are inefficient. I suggest that they be immediately reorganized under Confederate law and taken into Confederate service. Many companies are in process of formation under authority from Richmond; they remain in process of formation and harbor deserters and others avoiding military service. I earnestly suggest that such authorities be withdrawn. J. E. JOHNSTON.
(What Johnston is saying is that the State Militia of Mississippi or State Troops are places to "harbor deserters and others avoiding military service", from the CONFEDERACY.) This was a continuing battle between the State of Mississippi and the Confederate authorities. Mississippi was trying to defend herself and insure that SOME men stayed within her boarders.