The past has already taught us how regardlessly the Government as the county authorities have treated the families of those who have taken the field. We have been told that they would be cared for, and what up to this time has been done? They were furnished with small sums of paper money, which is almost worthless, and which has been refused by men for whose sake this war and its calamities were originated.
Last year we made tolerably good crops; the prospect for the next is not very encouraging, and we cannot look forward with indifference upon starvation, which we apprehend for our wives and children.
Although it has been said that we will not be needed for more than three months, the time for planting will then be over and our children may go begging, for the small pay which we are to receive for our services is insufficient to purchase bread for our families and pay for it. We and our families are almost destitute of clothing, and have no means of getting enough to protect us even imperfectly against the cold, from which cause sickness and epidemics result, as has been experienced in the Army, where more men have fallen victims of disease than by the sword of the enemy.
Last autumn we applied to procure cloth from the penitentiary, but up to this time we have not been able to obtain any, whereas negro-holders, whom we could name, can get such things and fetch them home. For these reasons we sympathize with all the unfortunate who have to provide for their own maintenance, and hope that our authorities will look upon us as men and not as chattels. With what spirit and what courage can we so situated fight, and that, moreover, for principles so far removed from us?
Besides the duty of defending one's country there is a higher and more sacred one - the duty of maintaining the families. What benefit is there in preserving the country while the families and inhabitants of the same, nay, even the Army, are bound to perish in misery and starvation?
In view of the foregoing we take the liberty hereby jointly to declare that unless the Army and we obtain a guarantee that our families will be protected, not only against misery and starvation, but also against vexations from itinerant bands, we shall not be able to answer the call, and the consequences must be attributed to those who caused them.
Furthermore, we decline taking the army oath (as prescribed) to the Confederate States, as we know of no law which compels Texas troops, who are designed for this State, to take the same.
It is the unanimous wish of those assembled in this meeting to apply to Brigadier General W. G. Webb to use all of his influence to the effect that the men now drafted for militia service be permitted to stay at home until they have finished planting.
By authorization and in the name of about one hundred and twenty citizens.
I do hereby certify the above and foregoing to be a true and correct copy of the original (translation).
59 R R - VOL XV