War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0504 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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Your Excellency's attention is respectfully called to the inclosed letter, Numbers 4,* from which it appears that impressment agents do not always pay that regard to justice which their position would demand.

An order from the War Department has limited the hire for impressed slave labor to $20 per month. Major-General Maury and the undersigned have asked for authority to pay $30 per month. A telegram received here yesterday referred the matter to Mr. R. C. Fariss, State commissioner who answered me this morning by the inclosed telegram, Numbers 5.* Not satisfied with his answer, I wrote to him immediately. (See copy of letter, No. 6.*)

Whenever practicable, provisions should be sent with the impressed hands. Let planters send the same amount their hands would consume in sixty days at home. This method would place each individual planter to but a trifling inconvenience, and the Governor would save hundreds of thousands of rations for the case of a protracted siege-a most important consideration. The Government allows for all rations thus received a fair market price.

The engineer department is making payments for impressed slave labor through General Green, quartermaster-general of the State, to whom the necessary funds are turned over every month. Finally, permit me to call Your Excellency's attention to a plan by which continued impressments and all grievances in their sequel could be avoided easily. Why not raise a corps of 5,000 negro laborers to serve during the war, and to be paid clothed, and subsisted alike with our common soldiers? The advantages of such an organization are too obvious for me to venture to tire Your Excellency with their recapitulation.

I have the honor to be, Governor, &c.,

VON SHELIHA.

Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief Engineer.

HEADQUARTERS, &c.,

McNeel's Plantation, Brazoria County, December 13, 1863.

Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS, Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit for the information and the approval of the lieutenant-general commanding the inclosed copies of letters to Majors Washington and Dickinson, with the request that they may receive his earliest possible attention.

From reports of a deserter from the Federal army, there are now at and about Decrow's (Landing) Point, Matagorda Peninsula, from 22,000 to 24,000 men, but as yet there are no indications of their advance. This statement corroborates the opinion expressed by Brigadier General Tom Green in his letter to me of the 4th instant, a copy of which I forward to the lieutenant-general commanding.+

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,

McNeel's Plantation, Brazoria County, December 13, 1863.

Major A. G. DICKINSON, Commanding Post, &c., San Antonio:

SIR: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to forward to you the inclosed copy of a letter to Major T. A. Washington, and to

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*Not found.

+See p. 477.

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