The above principal reasons, in connection with many other minor ones which might be mentioned, have led me, after much hesitation, to offer the above suggestions.
I would propose to leave here a garrison of about 500 men and six companies of the Corps d'Afrique at Point Isabel and four companies at Brazos. I would place in the works here the two 20-pounder Parrotts, the captured 24-pounder, and a section of one of the batteries here. I would march all the cavalry, six pieces of artillery, 500 infantry, and all the transportation overland to Corpus Christi, and would transport the remainder by water from Point Isabel, and I should ask for this purpose one of Morgan's steamships, the Matamoras, now at Pass Cavallo, and one other boat of not over 5 feet draught, with two light schooners, and one load of coal.
I have the honor to remain, with great respect,
N. J. T. DANA,
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Fort Esperanza, Tex., December 24, 1863
Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have reliable information that the rebels are in considerable force at Velasco and Quintana, under General [P. N.] Luckett. They have two strong forts there, the one at Velasco having eight or ten large siege guns, and that at Quintana something less. I am also informed that some of the guns captured on the Clifton and Sachem, at Sabine Pass, are mounted at Velasco. From information, I have, I judge that they have not less than three regiments at these forts. They have also two steamboats there, one of which is supposed to be a gunboat. My information is as recent, as yesterday.
I report the arrival and landing of the 30-pounder Parrott battery. I regret that the public service in Louisiana would not justify the sending the First Wisconsin Battery, which is thoroughly drilled and practiced as heavy artillerists, having worn out in the service one battery of 20-pounders. The battery sent is perfectly raw, having never fired a shot at friend or foe. I request that, while our animals are dying daily for forage, you would put a stop to suttlers monopolizing the transportation. The Jews have already appeared in force.
C. C. WASHBURN,
P. S. - Yesterday General Warren occupied Powderhorn (Indianola) with the First Brigade, First Division. They will reconnoiter to-morrow as far as Lavaca. I have visited Palacios; also stirred them up at the head of the peninsula.
[The following is an] extract from communication from Major [William G.] Thompson, commanding at Mustang Island, dated December 22, 1863:
I have information from a reliable man, direct from Corpus Christi (with whom I have frequently communicated verbally), that all the forces in the State of Texas, west, are ordered to rendezvous at Columbia on the Brazos River, about 30 miles from Galveston; that many of the Confederate troops have deserted, and that several companies refuse absolutely to go, and that hundreds are now hiding around Corpus Christi, and waiting the coming of our forces.