August 9, 1864: Sorry, no black troops available

William Tecumseh Sherman

Sherman may not be enthusiastic about black soldiers, but he’d like to have some for garrison duty to relieve troops from Nashville for use at the front. Unfortunately, there aren’t any available.

WASHINGTON, August 9, 1864.
Major-General SHERMAN:

Dispatch of August 2 received. There are no negro regiments avail able at present. Recruits from Western States will be sent you in the mode you desire.

E. D. TOWNSEND,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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[
NEAR ATLANTA, GA., August 2, 1864.
General L. THOMAS,
Adjutant-General U. S. Army:

If you have any negro regiments fit for duty I would like to have them in front of Nashville; that would enable me to bring to the front brigades that properly belong to the corps at the front. Could not some general order be made for white recruits to be sent from the States as they are made, to be put in with our old men?

Losses in battle and sickness from work and weather is beginning to tell on the strength of my army. If this matter pertains to the Provost-Marshall-General, I would request you to notify him that I would prefer to have recruits come to me daily by tens and hundreds than to await them in larger bodies more difficult to transport. Our cars could bring me 400 daily without overloading.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General. ]

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