endorses your views, and has forwarded the letter to the lieutenant-general commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, with the request that he will give it his early and most favorable consideration.
The major-general commanding directs also that in making impressments of cotton, if you should so act, you follow out the instructions of the impressment bill (a copy of which you will find inclosed).* The bill (section 1) provides that, "Whenever the exigencies of an army in the field are such as to make impressments of * * * property absolutely necessary, such impressments may be made," &c. The arms are absolutely necessary, and cotton is absolutely necessary to procure them, and, until instructions of an explicit character are received from Lieutenant-General Smith, each officer must exercise his own judgment as to what is absolutely necessary for the army or for the procuring of articles necessary to an army. In making impressments of cotton, the general suggests that you impress the cotton of Government contractors in preference to that of other parties. He revokes all positive authority given by himself to impress cotton, but each officer must be guided by his own judgment in interpreting the impressment bill.
The general also instructs me to say to you, general, that you can establish your headquarters at Corpus Christi, if you prefer it to Brownsville.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
STEPHEN D. YANCEY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Goliad, June 22, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, &c., Houston, Tex.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of June 17, 1863. The arrival of Colonel Gray, of my staff, at Houston, will, before this can reach you, have explained the position of matters with me; but I find a paragraph in your communication which calls for a response:
The general wishes you to state why the orders directing you to remain on the Rio Grande have not been complied with.
As the inquiry conveys an intimation that I have disobeyed the orders of the general commanding, I hasten to place my answer on the record.
I did not comply with these orders because I did not receive them until I had arrived at King's ranch. I left Brownsville in compliance with orders to march my brigade to the eastern portion of the State, having delayed my departure in hopes of obtaining arms for the troops, of which delay I notified the general commanding, but before I could receive any response, the necessity of my further delay was removed, and I hastened on to overtake my command.
The positive order to remain on the Rio Grande reached me on the Medio Creek, 20 miles west from Goliad, but in view of the condition of my command, each regiment moving separately, and their supplies of ordnance, commissary, and quartermaster's stores scattered from Fort Brown to Columbus, it was necessary for me to remain at this place