ST. LOUIS, Mo, January 31, 1864.
DR. W. G. ELIOT, GEORGE PARTRIDGE AND OTHERS,
WESTERN SANITARY COMMISSION:
GENTLEMEN: Your letter of yesterday, requesting my presence at a general meeting of the loyal citizens of St. Louis on Monday evening, to make preparations for a "Grand Mississippi Valley Fair," for the benefit of the sick and wounded soldiers of the Western army, is before me. I regret that my already protracted stay in the city will prevent any longer delay from my public duties. I regret this, as it would afford me the greatest pleasure to advance, in any manner, the interests of a Commission that has already done so much for the suffering soldiers of our Western armies. The gratuitous offerings of our loyal citizens at home, through the agency of Sanitary Commissions, to our brave soldiers in the field, have been to them the most encouraging and gratifying evidence that whilst they are risking life and health for the suppression of this most wicked rebellion, their friends who cannot assist them with musket and sword are with them in sympathy and heart.
The Western Sanitary Commission have distributed many tons of stores to the armies under my command. Their voluntary offerings have made glad the hearts of many thousands of wounded and sick soldiers, who otherwise would have been subjected to severe privations. Knowing the benefits already conferred on the army by the Western Sanitary Commission, I hope for them a full and enthusiastic meeting to-night, and a fair to follow which will bring together many old friends who have been kept apart