War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0902 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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[DECEMBER 18, 1862. - Stevenson's division ordered from East Tennessee to Mississippi, to report to Lieutenant General J. C. Pemberton. See Series I, Vol. XX, Part II, p. 453.]


Houston, Tex., December 19, 1862.


Assistant Adjutant-General, Trans-Mississippi Department:

SIR: I have just received your letter* of -- instant, stating that Sibley's brigade had been ordered opposite Vicksburg. I to-day also saw an order from Brigadier-General Scurry, directing that brigade and Stone's and Gurley's regiments to hold themselves in readiness to march. I had ordered Sibley's brigade to Harrisburg, between Galveston and this place, in order to protect the coast and the railroads, the latter absolutely vital. I also wrote General Holmes, requesting that Stone's and Gurley's regiments might be sent at once to Columbus, Tex., where they are extremely needed. I found also the Rio Grande frontier virtually abandoned. It must be retrieved forthwith or our trade will be cut off and the enemy obtain a base for operations against Texas affording him every advantage. I have but a few moments to write, as the cars leave in half an hour, and there are but tri-weekly stages. I will send return of troops next mail, and will state now from memory the following, on which I think General Holmes can rely: In Texas, number of troops organized and for duty 8,000 men, which includes Sibley's brigade and excludes Baylor's troops, now being organized. Of these latter there are about 1,500 men, of which three companies only are armed. Of Sibley's brigade only about 1,200 men are armed, and they indifferently. There are not more than 6,000 men armed at all in Texas. There ought to be that number alone on the Rio Grande. I was about to send an expedition there to regain the frontier, but if Sibley's brigade and Stone's and Gurley's regiments are taken from me I w ill not be able to do so. I beg therefore that the order alluded to by you for these troops to proceed to Vicksburg be countermanded. Of course I shall facilitate the movement toward Vicksburg in every way in my power unless I receive different orders from General Holmes, who of course knows that General Banks is about to sail with a large force for Texas.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.

RICHMOND, VA., December 20, 1862.

Major-General FORNEY, Mobile, Ala.:

I have reasons, not however, conclusive, to believe Banks' fleet is intended to operate in the Gulf, and in the first instance to attack Mobile. Be prepared.


Secretary of War.


* See of November 26, p. 879.