I beg that Captain Leon Smith be appointed post captain in the Provisional Navy, for which he is in every way well qualified.*
I have the honor urgently but respectfully to request that Lieutenant Catesby Ap R. Jones, of the Navy, be ordered to report to me to relieve Captain Hunter. I applied for Lieutenant Jones last summer. He was anxious to come, but the Navy Department declined. With his assistance I could have had by this time a fleet of ten or fifteen seagoing vessels, all armed. Please send also four or five good young navy officers. I would prefer them to volunteers, but time is everything. Captain Leon Smith's practical experience and resources as a commander for a long time of ocean steamers in the Pacific and river boats here are invaluable and cannot be replaced. If the Harriet Lane can be gotten ready before she is blockaded in I will send her to sea.
Please answer me in full by telegraph. An officer, Lieutenant Gibson, who bears this to Vicksburg will wait there for your reply.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
January 6, 1863.
Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor urgently to recommend to the favorable consideration of the Department the following plan for the defense of Texas, internally and externally:
There are about 12,000 men organized in this State, about 6,000 armed, and these indifferently. I wish to divide these into brigades of 3,000 men each, and to place them under good brigadier-generals, and each two brigades under a major-general.
The extent of the country is so great that an order is in most cases valueless when it reaches its destination. The extent of coast is about 400 miles, and the territory of the State extends from 800 to 1,000 miles in the interior. In this vast country the utmost confusion and disorganization prevail in the military administration from a want of control by the proper officers, who must be at a great distance from some portions of their commands.
Disaffection exists in a greater degree than has been represented to me, but will not spread if promptly put down; if not, it will increase.
Various other reasons induce me to ask the appointment, as soon as it is possible, of major-generals and brigadier-generals enough to enable me to carry out my plan, which is simply this:
1st. To hold the Rio Grande at all hazards. The command there must be unsupported and self-sustaining. I would assign it to General Bee, whose relations with the Mexican authorities and personal qualifications make this arrangement an excellent one. This I have already done, and I propose to give him command as far northeast as the Nueces.
2nd. To assign a brigadier-general to the command of all the country from the Nueces to the Colorado.
3rd. Another brigadier to the command of that between the Colorado and the Sabine, where there are railroads parallel to the coast.
4th. One brigadier-general to command on the western frontier from the Upper Nueces to the Clear Fork of the Brazos - the Indian reserve.
* See Mallory to Davis, January 24, 1863, p. 959.