OCTOBER 2, 1862.-Destruction of railroad depot near Beaumont, Tex.
Report of Lieutenant Col. A. W. Spaight, Spaight's Battalion.
HEADQUARTERS SPAIGHT'S BATTALION,
Beaumont, Tex., October 2, 1862.
SIR: No further attempt has been made to destroy the Eastern Texas Railroad bridge, but to-day the railroad depot, a mile above the town, was burned. In conversations with Captain Burch to-day Captain Pennington said there should be no more travel on our (Eastern Texas) railroad; he would send a light-draught schooner up opposite Taylor's Bayou bridge. He also let it out that he expected soon two New York ferry-boats to ascend the two rivers. They have brought in as prize a light-draught schooner, and seem to be fighting her up with guns. The bridge and lower part of the road are at their mercy whenever they choose to bring a light-draught boat to bear. They can also prevent the crossing at the ferry near the bridge, and this will cut off communication with the Pass, except by a long and bad route by way of the Gulf beach. In that event I shall be almost forced to withdraw my cavalry from the vicinity of the Pass on account of the difficulty of transportation for supplies. To prevent this I must have artillery. If I could get one or two guns, large or small, to place at the mouth of Taylor's Bayou, just below the bridge, I could defeat their purpose, keep open communication, and confine them to their boats with my cavalry. They can bring no heavy guns to bear on the bridge and crossing. A 24-pounder or two would answer my purpose. If they are not to be had let me urge upon the colonel commanding to send me such as are to be had without delay. It certainly should be our aim to yield to inch of ground without a fight, especially where by timely preparation we may beat them off. Besides, we lose and they gain a great deal by the breaking up of this communication. It is 75 miles to the Pass by any other route and by a road almost impassable to wagons. This would make it difficult for us to prevent them from obtaining beeves at will.
The yellow fever and the measles have rendered so many of my men unfit for duty that in my judgment I ought to have at least two more companies (one of cavalry and one infantry) to guard all the points. The rivers make it difficult to concentrate on any one point in the event it should become necessary. Since it would be as easy to remove troops from Orange or Beaumont to any other point on the coast as from Hempstead, I would suggest that it might be well to send a portion of the troops stationed there to this locality. The colonel commanding has already had my opinion that the enemy mean more than simply to hold Sabine Pass. That opinion is strengthened every day. I now believe that every available gun at our command should be sent to the Sabine River and to Taylor's and that without delay. I say every gun, because I know we can spare but few at the most for any one exposed point. I think the enemy expect to take possession of an hold these rivers with a small outlay of strength, and we ought, if possible, to disappoint them. Considering the light-draught boats they are compelled to operate with, I think, with even the limited means at our command, we may be able to keep them out. I shall, unless ordered to desist, push forward the work of obstructing the channels, but it will take time and may be too late for our purpose. With activity the guns