War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0132 W.FLA., S.ALA., S.MISS., LA., TEX., N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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Major-General MAGRUDER,

Commanding District of Texas, &c., Houston, Tex.:

GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Smith has received information of the capture of 12,000 stand of arms belonging to the Confederate States by the French blockading squadron at the mouth of the Rio Grande; also that the commanding officers of the squadron has expressed a willingness to return these arms.

He desires to know what steps have been taken in the matter, and also to have from you a summary of all arms, ordnance, and ordnance stores, &c., that have been received in Texas through Brownsville.

I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General,and Chief of Staff.


Captain A. N. MILLS, Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: The continued drafts upon this garrison for individual details and detachments of troops have weakened it so much that the works of defense, which have become very extensive, and are increasing from day to day, are now unprotected, and exposed to a disgraceful capture by a coup de main whenever the enemy chooses to risk it. He has not less than 1,200 men on his vessels, and can send a landing force which would without difficulty overwhelm the guard of the forts, composed of heavy artillery, the small-arms of which have been taken to arm other troops now out of the island.

Elmore's and Luckett's regiments report together 400 men for duty, from which I have to supply daily a detail of 81 privates for interior guard and 36 men to do duty on board the gunboat Diana. The heavy artillery report 250 men present for duty, to man 25 pieces, which does not supply a relief for each piece, and would prevent answering the enemy's guns in a protracted bombardment.

The front of the works of defense from Fort Point to South Battery extends over 2 miles. To send small supports to each fort at night would compel me to be weak whenever the enemy attacks. I am, therefore, compelled to keep the troops in town, which is the most central position between the two extremities of the line of defense, and in case of a surprise endeavor to arrive in time to save the work attacked. Should the enemy be successful at Fort Magruder or South Battery, he can turn the guns against the town or the other forts.

The cavalry,armed with musketoons and carbines of very short range, and no bayonets, would be of little service.

One of the batteries of light battery had no harness, and could do no service.

The health of the troops is becoming worse every day, over 15 per cent. of the men being sick, owing, as I am told by medical officers, to sour corn-meal and the want of vegetable food. It was expected that the militia, when mustered, would assist in the protection of the works of defense, but it has no guns.

All I can spare to man and defend the battery at Pelican Spit is a company of artillery, composed of about 40 men, who have to be taken from the other works. This force is altogether too small to resist an