and particularly the works around Galveston, in the best possible state of defense. No tine can be lost. The men of this command who are willing to work on the fortifications, &c., are informed that they will receive $30 per month in addition to their pay, and a half ration more than at present, and will be excused from all military duty as long as they are so engaged. Such mechanics as may volunteer and be accepted, will receive $10 in addition to the above privileges, making in all $40 and the extra half ration. These men will be considered as on furlough whilst thus engaged.
* * * * * *
By command of Major-General Magruder:
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA, Brashear City, July 17, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, New Mexico, &c.:
GENERAL: I avail myself of the services of Colonel Robertson, volunteer side of Brigadier-General McCulloch, to communicate with you relative to the operations within this district, the probable future movements of forces, and matters in which not only the public interests are deeply involved, but the future of our respective commands is intimately blended.
On the 23rd instant, by a coup de main, I succeeded in capturing this place with a small and picked command, taking a large quantity of ordnance, ordnance stores, quartermaster's and commissary supplies, and about 1,500 prisoners, recovering from the enemy upward of 2,000 negroes who had been abducted by General Banks on his march and retreat to and from Alexandria.
Colonel Major (whom I had placed in command of a brigade of cavalry) had been sent down the Mississippi River from Fausse River toward this place, via Plaquemine, Donaldsonville, Thibodeaux, and Bayou Boeuf, successfully and brilliantly carried out his instructions, and,having swept the country on the route indicated, destroying at Plaquemine three sea-going transports, with valuable cargoes, both of Government supplies and private ventures, effected a junction with General Green's cavalry brigade at Bayou Boeuf, on the line of the railroad, 7 miles from this place. I hurried the two small infantry brigades of Colonel [Henry] Gray and Colonel [J. W.] Speight,the two numbering about 1,800 effective men,and, leaving an adequate force to garrison this place and the forts in its vicinity (which I hastened to put in a strong defensive attitude), I pushed the whole command forward toward the Mississippi River, making Donaldsonville and its neighborhood, which was strongly fortified by the enemy, the objective point in my movements.
I posted above and below Donaldsonville batteries of light artillery, well supported, and within safe and easy communication of the main body of my force,and had effectually blocked the passage of the Mississippi River to any of the enemy's transports, rendering it impossible for him to receive supplies at Port Hudson by way of the Lower Mississippi.
I was most sanguine that my operations would so seriously embarrass the operations of General Banks as to force him to raise the siege of