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GENERAL ORDERS

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,

19TH ARMY Corps,

Opelousas, April 30, 1863.

No. 39.

In accordance with the following Proclamation of the President of the United States, Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, will be observed as a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer, in the several Divisions of the 19th Army Corps.

The Proclamation of the President will be read at the head of every regiment, battalion and battery, to-day.

BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL BANKS :

RICHARD B. IRWIN,

Assistant Adjutant General.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

STATES.

A PROCLAMATION.

WHEREAS, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and nations, has, by a resolution, required the President to designate and cet apart a day for National prayer and humiliation :

AND WHEREAS, it is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentence will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truths announced in the Holy Scriptures, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord :

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in

peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no otber nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and persevering grace—too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess onr national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, THEREFORE, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this, my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite at their several places of public worship, and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

And this being done in sincerity and truth, let us, then, rest humbly in the hope, authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of nnity and peace.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused lhe seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this thirtieth day of March, in the year

of our Lord one thousand eight hundred' and sixty-three, and of the independence the United States the eighty-seventh.

L. S.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD,

Secretary of State.

GENERAL ORDERS

No. 40.

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,

19th Army CORPS,

Opelousas, May 1, 1863,

The Major General commanding the Department proposes the organization of a corps d'armée of colored troops, to be designated as the “ Corps d'Afrique." It will consist ultimately of eighteen regiments, representing all arms-Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry, organized in three Divisions of three Brigades each, with ap propriate corps of Engineers and flying Hospitals for each Division. Appropriate uniforms, and the graduation of pay to correspond with value of services, will be hereafter awarded.

In the field, the efficiency of every corps depends upon the influence of its officers upon the troops engaged, and the practicable limits of one direct command is generally estimated at one thousand men. The most eminent military historians and commanders, among others Thiers and Chambray, express the opinion, upon a full review of the elements of military power, that the valor of the soldier is rather acquired than natural. Nations whose individual heroism is undisputed, have failed as soldiers in the field. The European and American continents exhibit instances of this character, and the military prowess of every nation may be estimated by the centuries it has devoted to military contest, or the traditional passion of its people for military glory. With a race unaccustomed to military service, much more depends on the immediate influence of officers upon individual members, than with those that have acquired more or less of warlike babits and spirit by centuries of contest. It is deemed best, therefore, in the organization of the Corps d'Afriqne, to limit the regiments to the smallest number of men consistint with efficient service in the field, in order to secure the most thorough instruction and discipline, and the largest influence of the officers over the troops. At first they will be limited to five hundred men. The average of American regiments is less than that number.

The Commanding General desires to detail for temporary or permanent duty the best officers of the army, for the organization, instruction and discipline of this corps. With their aid, he is confident that the corps will render important service to the Government. It is not established upon any dogma of equality or other theory, but as a practical and sensible matter of business. The Government makes use of mules, horses, uneducated and educated white men, in the defense of its institutions. Why should not the negro contribute whatever is in his power for the cause in which he is as deeply interested as other men? We may properly demand from him whatever service he can render. The chief defect in organizations

of this character has arisen from incorrect ideas of the officers in command. Their discipline has been lax, and in some cases the conduct of the regiments unsatisfactory and discreditable. Controversies unnecessary and injurious to the service have arisen between them and other troops. The organization proposed will reconcile and avoid many of these troubles.

Officers and soldiers will consider the exigencies of the service in this Department, and the absolute necessity of appropriating every element of power to the support of the Gorernment. The prejudices or opinions of men are in no wise involved. The co-operation and active support of all officers and men, and the nomination of fit men from the ranks, and from the lists of non-commissioned and commissioned officers, are respectfully solicited from the Generals commanding the respective Divisions.

BY COMMAND OF MAJOR GENERAL BANKS :

RICHARD B. IRWIN,

Assistant Adjutant General.

OFFICIAL:

Aide-de-Camp.

GENERAL ORDERS

No. 41.

HEADQUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,

19TH ARMY CORPS,

Opelousas, La., May 4, 1863.

The following extracts from Acts of Congress are published for the information of the troops of this Department:

"AN ACT for enrolling and calling out the National Forces, and for other

purposes." Approved March 3, 1863.

Section 18. And be it further enacted, That such of the volunteers and militia now in the service of the United States as may re-enlist to serve one year, unless sooner discharged, after the expiration of their present term of service, shall be entitled to a bounty of fifty dollars, one half of which to be paid upon such re-enlistment, and the balance at the expiration of the term of re-enlistment. And such as may re-enlist to serve for two years, unless sooner discharged, after the expiration of their present term of enlistment, shall receive, npon such re-enlistment, twenty-five dollars of the one hundred dollars bounty for enlistment provided by the fifth section of the act approved twenty-second of July, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, entitled “ An Act to anthorize the employment of volunteers to aid in enforcing the laws and protecting public property."

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Section 22. And be it further enacted, That courts martial shall have the power to sentence officers who shall absent themselves from their commands without leave, to be reduced to the ranks, to serve three years or during the war.

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Section 30. And be it further enactel, That in time of war, insurrection or rebellion, murder, assault and battery with an intent to kill, manslaughter, mayhem, wounding by shooting or stabbing with an intent to commit murder, robbery, arson, burglary, rape, assault and battery with an intent to commit rape and larceny, shall be punishable by sentence of a general court martial or military commission, when committed by persons who are in the military service of the United States, and subject to the Articles of War; and the puuishments for such offenses shall never be less than those inflicted by the laws of the State, Territory or District, in which they may have been committed.

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Section 31. And be il further enacted, That any officer absent from duty, with leave, except for sickness or wounds, shall, during his absence, receive half of the

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