HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, Matagorda Bay, Tex., February 24, 1864.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding Forces in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona:
Your communication of the 15th instant, by flag of truce, was received only to-day. I have to state in reply that the information therein contained relating to Colonel Duff and two of his companies is new at these headquarters, and has no foundation in any idea ever entertained or announcement ever made by any person having any authority.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. J. T. DANA,
WASHINGTON, D. C., February 24, 1864.
Commanding Department of Missouri:
The pay of colored soldiers will no doubt be raised considerably. Am now certain that it will be made equal to pay of white soldiers, which will also be raised. Freedom of families by law more doubtful; still I think something of the kind will be done.
J. A. GARFIELD.
SAINT JAMES, MO., February 24, 1864.
SIR: On my way home I have been detained at this place a few days on business. While here I have had a good opportunity of learning something in regard to the state of affairs south of here in this State. I find a great many refugees here from the southern part of the State, a number of whom are from my own county (Wright), and they still come. Not a day, nay, scarcely an hour passes, but some miserable refugee or family arrives at this place. The universal cry is, "We have no protection." Warm weather is here and thieves and guerrillas have already commenced their desolating and alarming occupation, which is causing the citizens to flee to the interior for protection and safety. They say they are exposed alike to the depredations of guerrillas and scouts of our own troops. My opinion is, from all I have been able to learn, that nothing short of a removal of the troops at Roll, Waynesville, Lebanon, Houston, Salem, and other posts of the Southwest, and placing sober law-and-order men in their stead, will secure peace and quiet to the people of the southern counties.
If this is done immediately, and a few posts established near the southern boundary of the State, and a company or two of good men at Mountain Grove Academy, in Wright County (which last point all from that quarter agree would give security and protection to a greater extent of country than any point that could be selected in that quarter), hundreds of families would in ten days return to their homes and prepare for a crop; otherwise the entire country south of the road leading from Roll to Springfield will be almost depopulated.
We of Wright county only ask a few companies (probably one would be sufficient if a post is established at West Plains, in Howell County), commanded by officers who are in favor of law and order, and who