HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
New Orleans, La., December 27, 1864.
Major General N. J. T. DANA,
Commanding Department of Mississippi, Memphis, Tenn.:
SIR: With reference to my dispatch of yesterday, transmitted by the hands of Captain B. F. Morey, I am instructed by the major-general commanding to say that the order for the return of the two brigades of the Reserve Corps was not intended to interfere with any operations that might be pending for the cutting of Hood's communications, in accordance with General Halleck's order, and to which a portion of these two brigades might have been committed, It is supposed, however, that they will no longer be needed for that purpose, and as it is possible that offensive operations may be made advantageously from this quarter, it is desired that they return as soon as possible, consistent with the absolute requirements of the service in your department. The cavalry force of which mention was made in my letter to you of the 15th instant will not now be sent.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Numbers 238.
Saint Louis, Mo., December 27, 1864.
For the purpose of better providing for the wants and of improving the condition of the large number of refugees in this department, and to organize in the different districts a uniform system for their care, a refugee bureau is hereby established. Each district commander will appoint an officer (a chaplain if possible) as superintendent of refugees, whose duty is shall be to look after the interests of the destitute refugees in his district. Chaplain A. Wright is hereby assigned to duty as superintendent of refugees in charge of refugee bureau. Assistant superintendents in addition to the reports to district commanders will report to and received instructions from him, and all reports, applications, and matters whatsoever concerning refugees will be made and referred to him. It is hereby enjoined upon and made the duty of the superintendent and assistant superintendents of refugees to carefully scrutinize and examine all applicants for aid, to dispense it to those only who are actual and worthy objects of charity, and to see that the Government is not imposed upon by impostures, vagrants, idle loungers, and loafers. With the existing demand for labor every able-bodied man and woman should earn their own living, and nine such will be permitted to share the Government charity, which is designed to be dispensed to those alone who by the fortunes of war have been driven from their homes, and for the time being deprived of the means of making a support, and it is intended only to support at Government expense this class of unfortunates until by proper effort they can earn their own living. Preparations will be made for placing as many of these refugees as possible early in the spring upon farms, and abandoned rebel plantations near established military posts will be taken for that purpose. All stores and supplies furnished By Government to refugees will be drawn by the superintendent and assistant superintendent of refugees. A monthly report of the operations of the bureau will be made to these headquarters. The general commanding the