attack supported by gunboats,and could not be re-enforced during the action, owing to want of transportation and the distance from the town.
Colonel Sulakowski estimates the force necessary to defend the place by the above statement that the garrison does not reach one-third of that figure.
I have the honor to be,very respectfully, your obedient servant,
X. B. DEBRAY,
Colonel,and Acting Brigadier-General, Commanding.
ENGINEER'S OFFICE, Galveston, August 2, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER, Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that,impressed with the necessity of speedy action in intrenching Niblett's Bluff, in order to protect the retreat of any force falling back from Louisiana, and not knowing where Colonel Forshey was or what he was doing, I have instructed Major Kellersberg, before receiving the reports of Colonel Forshey, to proceed to Sabine and start the necessary works. I respectfully inclose a copy of instructions given to Major Kellesberg.* At Orange I do not deem any works necessary, for the reason that both banks of the river, with the exception of the spot where the town and railroad depot are situated, are impassable marsh; at the same time it is inaccessible to gunboats, in the first place,on account of a strong work with six guns at Sabine City; then obstructions of the river at the same point, under the guns,by piles; then the bar of the Sabine River where it enters the lake (4 feet water).
The only access to Orange is from the interior, by the Jasper and Beaumont road. I deem it, therefore, unnecessary to fortify Orange against an enemy coming from Beaumont or on the Jasper road,as in such event Orange ought previously to be evacuated. I respectfully suggest that ten days' rations be kept at Niblett's Bluff, twenty days' at Orange, and the main depot at Beaumont, as the major-general commanding proposes.
These suggestions are based on the conviction that the railroad to Orange will not be completed before the rainy season sets in, and I consider it impracticable to complete the railroad after that; and as for removing the stores from Orange, I believe there would be sufficient time before the enemy could cross the river above Niblett's Bluff, march across the country, strike the Jasper road, and come down to Orange.
Should, however, the major-general commanding conclude to fortify Orange, I would respectfully suggest one redoubt to be built on the line H, M of Colonel Forshey's camp.
In obedience to orders, I will proceed to Beaumont and make the required examination.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Report upon works proposed at Orange, Tex.
ORANGE, TEX., July 18, 1863.
Orange is situated on the right bank of the Sabine River, 20 miles above Lake Sabine and 12 miles above the fort at Shell Bank. It is a