newspaper notoriety, have bagged some of the Federals by lying in ambush with some of Colonel Spaight's cavalry, if they had attempted, as was probable, to steal beeves; but I thought that Colonel Spaight was up to the task, and that my presence might be required here for some other purpose.
The steamship stationed at Galveston left two days ago for parts unknown, and is probably at some mischief. I had transmitted to you officially two months ago a reports* of Major Kellersberg upon the inefficiency of the works of defense at Sabine Pass and recommending some improvements and modifications. I have reasons to believe that that report has not been submitted to you. I regret it, for the place night perhaps have been put in a condition of defense if Major Kellersberg's suggestions has been acted upon. I ordered the provost-marshal at Orange to cause all the cotton there (over 750 bales) to be removed or destroyed if the enemy approaches and to order all the shipping at or below Orange to move as far up the river as possible. I have stationed one company of infantry at Beaumont and one at Orange for the protection of the railroad and shipping, but I have no artillery. I warned the people of Sabine that should they be known to have traded with the enemy I would withhold from them the supplies heretofore sold to them by the commissary while they are in quarantine. Elmore's regiment has an excellent composition of men, but is poorly officered. In fact they have no notions of discipline or military instruction. I could never imagine that a set of men could be terrified as they were by a remote apprehension of the yellow fever. I was so harassed by the objections and remonstrances of the lieutenant-colonel in command at my taking them so close to an infected place that I was compelled to forbid him to mention the word yellow fever before me.
Captain Chubb, who will hand you this letter, and Captain Leon Smith believe that they would be able to destroy the blocakind schooners at Sabine Pass if they were allowed to put the two rifled guns now lying idle at Houston on board of river boats which are at Orange. Being totally unacquainted with naval matters, I dare not trust to my judgment, and submit their plan to your consideration.
I would wish in some instances to address you directly on matters of public service which require a prompt decision from you, and which are sometimes delayed by pressure of bossiness in the adjutant-general's office, and respectfully solicit permission to do so in the future.
Hoping that you will excuse me in this case, when a letter commenced with private matters had degenerated into a semi-official communication, I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
X. B. DEBRAY.
P. S.-Please find herewith a letter,+ which will inform you of the state of feeling among the people of Sabine Pass. The names mentioned in it should remain secret, for the interest f the parties concerned and the public service. The man Pannington, whose name is mentioned in the letter, was master of a boat at Sabine Pass, and is said to be thoroughly acquainted with the waters of the Sabine and Nechez. He was suspected of having allowed his boat to be taken in Berwick Bay at the beginning of the blockade and had not been head of since. I am informed by one of the scouts of Colonel Spaight that one of the
*See Series I, Vol. IX, p. 729.