NA, DAMELA 11/6/1864

Hd Qrs Dept Ala Miss & E. La.
Selma Novr 6/64
Maj. Genl J. M Withers
Comdg Ala Reserve Forces
Montgomery Ala
   I herewith hand you for your information copies of Gen Orders # 134 & 137 from these Hd Qrs relative to crediting upon individual impressment quotas all negroes voluntarily hired to Rail Roads, Steamboats and other necessary Government work, these orders men ??ned by me after consulting with the Genl Comdg Mil Dis of the West upon the importance of getting the RR beyond Blue Mountain some more expeditiously manned than that of impressment as large a number of negroes as possible, necessarily was great then and is no equally as pressing elsewhere, the plan contemplated in the inclosures has been found to work admirably.
   On yesterday I learned with surprise that some officers of the Bureau of Conscription were about to take a number of neroes that had been hired to the Blue Mountain RR under the quantity promised in my order referred to. I immediately directed Brig Genl Henry to interfere with his authority and protect the RR Co in the possession of the negroes. I regret the Officers of the Bureau of Conscription were not directed to advise me of the nature of their orders before attempting to execute them within my Dept as that advise would have prevented an apparent or real confusion, or conflict of authorities. I am today in receipt of copy of the instructions fro Bureau of Conscription at Richmond relative to the subject of impressing negroes, and will be glad to know from you what is intended shall be same with the negroes impressed under those intentions. Will the 2500 apportioned to Ala be kept in Ala on public works, such as RR, steamboats, fortifications &c.
   There are enough negroes in Ala belonging to persons who have never furnished negroes for the various government works to get all the instructions referred to require from the State without disturbing those persons who have patriotically come forward at all times and furnished their negroes to the Government whenever they were needed. Unless some wise decisions are made by your Officers in reference to this part of the subject, their operations under the "instructions" will work very unjustly and be a most terrible hardship to that portion of the citizens of Ala who are the most patriotic and least able to bear the oppression.
   I respectfully request that you will write me fully on the above subject furnishing me with all the information you have as to the rights and intentions of the Govt in reference to it in order that the whole matter may be promptly regulated and left in the hands of one set of officers.
??? Respy Genl Your Obt Sevt
R Taylor
Lt Genl