not remained firm in my refusals, the State troops (as fine a body of men as I ever have seen, and well armed and mounted) would have melted away one-half by this time, and altogether, probably, within a short time, for most of the men are poor and their families are dependent on their labor for their daily bread; others have families exposed to the depredations and insults of unpatriotic neighbors, and others to the scalping-knife of the Indian. When it is known that men of business (salt or otherwise), or contractors, or any corporation or company gets details, these men who compose the majority feel the injustice of it, and, if they do not mutiny, get off on sick furloughs, becoming disgusted, and many, in the end, desert; the whole becoming demoralized and inefficient.
I have the honor to request that the special attention of the lieutenant-general commanding be invited to this letter, and that he will do me the favor, and the country the service, to send these men to their companies, and that all applications for such details be referred to these headquarters, where they certainly will not be granted unless for purposes purely governmental.
I have just been shown an indorsement of Major-General Bryan, requesting me to detail John Moore, Twenty-eighth Battalion, State troops, as an overseer for Mrs. Earl at Waco. The application is made by a Mr. J. B. Earl, an agent of hers, as he says himself. If that were not the case, it would be the same thing to me, for I cannot break the rule without having such a number of applications as will destroy the army if granted, or place me in so false a position that it will produce that effect later but quite assuredly.
Two positive orders reached me while at Sabine Pass to detail 2 soldiers to attend to their own plantations. At that moment a battery of artillery and a detachment of cavalry were ordered out to fire, if necessary, upon poor men who threatened to go to their homes to protect their wives and children from the scalping-knife of the Indians.
How could I look these men in the face after shooting their comrades, if I had made such a detail?
Mrs. Young, wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Young, of the army, living in Brazoria County, urgently requested me yesterday to make a detail from the State troops of her overseer, representing that she was in danger from her negroes, and had not a neighbor nearer than 5 or 6 miles. I offered to send a company to protect her, but firmly refused to detail her overseer. Let this policy be steadily adhered to, and all will conform; let it be broken by any one, and I would not give a straw in three months for this now splendidly organized corps. I inclose a copy of an order in the case of Private D. W. Scott.* It is my duty to present these facts, and the disastrous results which will flow from them, to prepare the mind of the lieutenant-general commanding for them.
At the headquarters there have been received from 200 to 500 applications for details of overseers, and for other private purposes, [which] present the strongest cases, and not one being granted to my knowledge or to that of any one connected with the office, and I have made careful inquiry in order to present the facts to Lieutenant-General Smith. Sometimes the petition has been signed by from 100 to 200 ladies, stating that there was not a man in their neighborhood; still, I have not yielded.
I hope the lieutenant-general commanding will co-operate with me in getting the Legislature of this State to pass a law keeping in service, as now organized, the State troops for the war. If the enemy does not