Majpr General Henry Wager Halleck's reply
to a request for colored troops from
Major General Quincy Adams Gillmore
Commanding Officer, U.S. Forces, Department of the South.


Washington, D.C., January 22, 1864.

Major-General GILLMORE,
Department of the South:

GENERAL: Your confidential letter to the Secretary of War was duly submitted. As the wants of the Department of the Gulf are much more pressing than yours, a part of the colored regiments have been sent there. In regard to your proposed operations in Florida, the Secretary replied that the matter had been left entirely to your judgment and discretion, with the means at your command. As the object of the expedition has not been explained, it is impossible to judge here of its advantages or practicability. If it is expected to give an outlet for cotton, or open a favorable field for the enlistment of colored troops, the advantages may be sufficient to justify the expense in money and troops. But simply as military operations I attach very little importance to such expeditions. If successful they merely absorb our troops in garrisons to occupy the places, but have little or no influence upon the progress of the war.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Copied from The Official Records of the War of Rebellion.

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