I have, therefore, ordered on of these regiments to take post at Navasota, to support Acting Brigadier-General Bankhead in Northern Texas, or to re-enforce Galveston or Niblett's Bluff, and have stopped the rest at King's ranch, a healthy position, convenient to the Rio Grande, to Corpus Christi, and by steamer to Matagorda, 40 miles from Columbia, from which there is a railroad to Houston.
I directed Brigadier-General Bee to pay $1,500 per year to two trust-worthy and intelligent men, one of whom would live in New York and the other trade between New York and Matamoras, in order that positive information of any contemplated expedition against us on the Rio Grande may be made known with certainty and in due season; also to obtain all other information which might be deemed of importance; their salary to be $1,500 in gold. I hope this step will meet the approval of the War Department. If not, I should be glad to be informed as soon as possible, in order to stop the expense.
5. General orders, Numbers 28, of 1863, from the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office at Richmond.-I beg leave to ask the attention of the Secretary of War to the evils which have been produced in the medical corps by the publication of this order, as officially presented in a letter from Surg. J. H. Berrien, medical director, herewith inclosed.* It has also affected discipline injuriously, for many men who have to commissions from the President are ready to disobey orders and take the consequences, some of them preferring to be privates with pay than officers without pay. I directed,in the case of the medical officers, that the medical director should contract with the surgeons and assistant surgeons at the same rates they were receiving as officers, until the question of commission and rank could be settled, but many of these officers refuse to enter into contract, and say they are out of service by virtue of this Order, Numbers 28, and their places cannot be supplied.
The sickly season is also approaching. I beg that these officers, of whom Surgeon Berrien reports that he has furnished a list at Richmond for appointment or commissions, may be commissioned, and that a board may be ordered to examine all medical officers or persons holding such positions, to ascertain their fitness for entering the service or for remaining in service or for promotion, whether they are invited or not, as the object here is paramount to have the services of medical men, and to ascertain if they are competent. I make these suggestions because I do not desire to report evils without suggesting some remedy, though there may be good reasons, not seen by me, but known to the War Department, for rejecting the course proposed by me.
6. The medical political sate of the country is tranquil at present, though on my trip through Austin and San Antonio it was said by most persons that Chambers would be the next Governor, and that he and the Confederate authorities would be in opposition within a few weeks after his election. I regret deeply that the present Governor, Lubbock, will not again be a candidate. He is a single-hearted, upright patriot, devoted to the Administration as the embodiment of our cause and the best interests of our country. it is needless to say that, with sentiments so coincident with my own, our co-operation has been cordial in the extreme.
I have the honor to send copies of a correspondence with him on the subject of State militia.* I deem it essential that these troops should be organized and in some degree drilled now, in order that they may meet the invasion which should be expected in November next, if not before.