I learn, and I would suggest to you the importance of seeing that they remain in the State and under your command as they do volunteer. I shall, is indicated before, if enough volunteers do not present themselves, send forward the State troops to the extent that may be necessary.
Your obedient servant,
[Inclosure No. 7.] HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C., Houston, March 23, 1864.
His Excellency Governor P. MURRAH:
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication dated 17th instant. The proposition of Your Excellency, tendering the State troops in brigades, is respectfully declined, the law of Congress and the decision of the President and the lieutenant-general commanding department forbidding its acceptance. The proposal made by Colonel D. B. Culberson, adjutant and inspector general, waiving your claim, upon certain conditions, of the conscript element in the State troops between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, does not meet the case presented by the new conscript law, which embraces all men between the ages of seventeen and forty-five, while at the same time it presents a new cause of dissatisfaction among the men comprising that class, which would create additional embarrassment. As Your Excellency, in your communication of 19th instant, seems to doubt the expediency of bringing the State troops into the field at this time, I am the more willing to accede to your wishes because of the obligations imposed upon me by the recent act of Congress.
I had supposed that the question as to the troops being continued in service was definitely settled, but Your Excellency regards the retaining of any of them in the field as dependent upon the views you may yet form as to the emergency and upon the numbers who volunteer for the war. I desire to free you from any embarrassment arising from a consideration of the agricultural and other home interests, and therefore do not ask at your hands the exercise of your powers to bring the troops into the field when your judgment convinces you that the result will be disastrous. If the assurances I have given you of the danger and the evidences you have of the strength of the enemy have not convinced you of the necessity for additional forces, I have little hope of satisfying your command on this subject. It does not become me to argue upon the propriety of the orders of the lieutenant-general by which the troops of Texas have marched to meet the enemy on the soil of Louisiana; but I can assure Your Excellency it is my deliberate opinion that unless (though a mere handful) their valor suffice to check his progress the campaign will be transferred to Texas.
The reserve force which I am authorized to organize under the new conscript act will then form a powerful auxiliary in the defense of the State, while the remaining State troops, composed as they will be of a very large class not embraced in the conscript act, comprising aliens, planters exempt on account of working fifteen hands, and those exempt from disability and other causes, may, in great