HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, December 21, 1863.
Major General C. C. WASHBURN,
Commanding Troops near Matagorda Bay, Tex.:
GENERAL: Your letters of the 13th, 14th, and 15th instant are this day received; also your inclosures of letter from Major-General Magruder, C. S. Army, and your reply thereto. All have been laid before the major-general commanding, who expressed his satisfaction with your course.
In regard to the artillery you ask for, I have the honor to state that a perfect fully appointed battery of four 30-pounder Parrotts has been forwarded on the steamer Clinton, which will probably arrive at your station to-morrow.
The Chicago Mercantile Battery, 6 guns, in complete order, sails to-morrow. The First Indiana Battery is now here, being refitted and put in perfect order. Either that or one of the batteries of the Fourth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, will follow in two days, and other artillery and cavalry will follow as rapidly as transportation can be procured for the horses.
It is very desirable that the steamers should be sent back as promptly as possible. The Warrior should be towed back, and the Planter sent here, if practicable. A tug-boat, for a dispatch boat, has been ordered to you.
The commanding general hopes that you will be able to make such safe demonstrations in the direction of San Antonio as will induce the enemy to at least divide his forces and not concentrate fully in the Caney Bottom
The "secesh papers," you mention did not reach me.
Very respectfully, I am, general, your most obedient servant,
CHAS. P. STONE,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.
Fort Whipple, Ariz., December 21, 1863.
[Captain BEN. C. CUTLER:]
CAPTAIN: After leaving Navajo Springs with my command on the 21st ultimo, I found a good road and plenty of feed at most points, but water rather scarce, until I reached the Little Colorado River on the 25th. The road follows this river about 60 miles, crossing it nearly middle way. The water and feed is abundant, but very alkaline, affecting the stock very much. At the San Francisco Mountain, I divided the train in three parts, the watering places not affording sufficient water for the large amount of stock at one time. The weather here was extremely cold, there usually being 8 to 10 inches of ice on the water-holes. About half way from the mountain to this point, the road became so extremely rough, that, to avoid breaking my wagons to pieces, I made a depot, leaving about one-third of my loading. It will take a week to send out and get this in here.
I have had no trouble whatever with Indians; after leaving Colorado River, I saw no signs of any until we met the Tonto Apaches at this place.
The last of the three trains, under Captain Benson, arrived here safely this evening. Captain Enos starts to-morrow for the Colorado River.