JEFFERSON CITY, November 14, 1864.
All of Smith's command has been sent, horse, foot, and artillery, except a few thieves and plunderers wandering about the country.
S. H. MELCHER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL MISSOURI,
Warrensburg, Mo., November 14, 1864.
Captain J. F. BENNETT,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Missouri:
CAPTAIN: I beg leave to present to the consideration of the major-general commanding the propriety of removing from the district the immediate families of men who are in the rebel army and those who have gone South. The fact is manifest that the residence of such families in our midst is most hurtful to the peace of the State, and a perpetual annoyance to the comfort and repose of loyal citizens. They are spies in our midst. They give shelter, food, and raiment to the predatory vagabonds, bands of partisans and guerrillas who infest and distress the country. These guerrillas beyond all question are recognized by and are in constant communication with the trans-Mississippi rebel army. They are the mediums of communication through which these families correspond with their friends South. In return thereof they extend hospitality and succor to the guerrilla mail-carrier and his confederates. They sympathies and heart's warmest affections of such families are with the South because their fathers, brothers, and husbands are there. It is human for them to have these emotions. And again, just so long as these people are with us we may not only expect to be cursed and scourged with the presence of guerrillas, but we may reasonably anticipate an annual recurrence of these destroying raids. The rebel soldier loves his wife, and his mother, and he will come here to see them. Human affection impels men to daring acts, and the rebels will hazard all to see wife and family, and as long as they are here rebel soldiers will come. Price's late army was mainly composed of those Missourians whose families reside on the line of his march. From their families they got clothing, goods, food, information, encouragement, and new spirits. The straggling bands who are now passing through the country filling it with alarm are rebels who, while visiting their families were cut off and left behind, and now are trying to rejoin their commands, or are men, who weary and heartsick of long separation from home, have resolved to risk all in order to hover around their families. These are commonplace facts, but the effect of their truth is so powerfully felt in the distress and depression of this people as to invoke my most serious consideration and endeavors to alleviate and work out a preventive. My own conclusions are that the public permanent good requires the sending of the families of these men south of our lines. This may seem harsh, and in some cases might work injustice, but war is full of severity. These people invoked war; let them reap its harvest. The Government must defend itself. It occurs to me that the major-general commanding could provide a plan feasible, and attended with little injustice, for carrying out the policy I have suggested. District provost-marshals and their assistants might collect, under proper instructions, the evidence as to affinities and loyalty of families, and whether