regiments of mounted troops will be required in the counties that would be under the salutary influence of the revival of business through the means above alluded to. This cost to the Government would be more than the cost of the incomplete portion of the line. The great difficulty that will stand in the way of an early completion of this line of road will be the liability to its interruption by guerrilla bands and the scarcity of labor. The first, I think, can be entirely prevented by keeping up a line of mounted patrol along the work, and by organizing the laborers into companies of a semi-military character, with a portion of them armed and drilled sufficiently for the purpose of fighting bushwhackers. This can be done by having the usual roll-calls, marches to and from their work as soldiers, and an hour or two each week the laborers can be drilled by competent non-commissioned officers detailed for the duty. The scarcity of labor in the country is an almost insurmountable obstacle. It is not necessary to point to he causes. They are patent to every man in the country. Under the circumstances I would respectfully suggest that if it become necessary in order to insure the finishing of this work, that one or more regiments of colored troops, enlisted from this State, be moved onto the line and put to work building this road under such an arrangement as will be mutually beneficial to the company and the Government. The expenditure for the payment and subsistence of the troops may be paid directly by the company, in money or in transportation, as may be agreed upon. Without the assistance of the Government it is very certain that the railroad company will not be able to complete the road in the next year; with it, the work can be speedily done, this portion of the line being far from heady rock cutting. The importance of building this road, as a means of establishing peaceful relations on the border, repopulating the country, and relieving it from the necessity of being protected by troops, will, I hope, be sufficient apology for the length of this communication.
I am, major, very truly, your obedient servant,
E. B. BROWN,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, Springfield, February 21, 1864.
WILLARD P. HALL,
Governor of Missouri:
GOVERNOR: Your communication of the 8th instant was handed to me last evening by the member of the Legislature form Barton Country. I had previously ordered one squadron of the Seventh Provisional Regiment to Leema [Lamar] or some point near there where it could obtain forage, thus anticipating the wishes of the people in this case. There are twenty counties and three parts of counties of Missouri in district. From the force I now have I conspire one squadron of cavalry for each county, and retain sufficient force upon our line of communication to protect it. There are some five counties in which I think we shall not be able to obtain forage for our animals until the grass grows, viz, Taney, Ozark, Douglas, McDonald, and Wright; but I will furnish military protection to all these coutneis as soon as horses can be supported in them. There