HEADQUARTERS EASTERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Houston, Tex., December 25, 1862.
Commanding, Corpus Christi, Tex.:
MAJOR: Major-General Magruder, who is now at Virginia Point (the enemy having arrived to-day in some force at Galveston), directs that you send a party to Aransas light-house to destroy it. Captain Neal or Captain Willke will know the best way of approaching it. Let them take for this purpose two kegs of powder. Major-General Magruder desires me to say that he is aware of the difficulties, but he believes they can be overcome.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
X. B. DEBRAY,
Colonel, Commanding Eastern Sub-District of Texas.
OPELOUSAS, LA., December 25, 1862.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department:
GENERAL: In obedience to the orders received from the Secretary of War, a copy of which is herewith inclosed, I have the honor to report my arrival at this place en route to New Iberia. I reported to you from Vicksburg also. While in Richmond the President impressed upon me the importance of immediate and active operations in this quarter and that I should meet my brigade at the point designated. At Jackson I was informed that the troops had been directed by General Magruder to Virginia Point, in front of Galveston, and again at Vicksburg I was notified by letter from one of my staff at Monroe that General Scurry had been assigned to the command of my brigade, and had proceeded to Texas accordingly, and, moreover, that the Valverde Battery was then at Monroe. I do not assume this unofficial information to be correct; but in the event that it should be so I deem it proper to say to you that an interview with the Governor and many members of the Legislature to-day has satisfied me that this part of the State of Louisiana, by far the richest in the Confederacy, is in a lamentably defenseless condition. The people and the authorities had relied confidently upon the Texas troops, promised them so repeatedly by the War Department and the President, for protection. Indeed the President had assured two gentlemen, planters on the Atchafalaya, in Jackson, on the 20th instant, that General Sibley was at New Iberia with his brigade. The citizens seem to have lost all confidence in themselves and reliance in the assurances of the Government, and are fleeing from every quarter and in every direction. The Arizona Battalion, of my brigade, has been actively and very usefully employed, under its very efficient lieutenant-colonel (Herbert), scouting and reconnoitering in the vicinity of Plaquemine and the Mississippi River. With the exception of this battalion I have no troops to operate with under the orders of the War Department.
I have written to General Taylor and furnished him with a copy of my orders; but the equivocal character of that order as regards my relative official position to him leaves me no alternative but to await your instructions. Meanwhile I shall proceed to New Iberia and to the salt-works in that vicinity, and familiarize myself with the roads, streams, and general resources of the country. It is proper that I