San Antonio, Tex., August 4, 1863.
Respectfully referred, through Captain Andrews, in charge of the Labor Bureau, to General J. B. Magruder, commanding, with the request, under the circumstances, that negroes may be impressed for the purpose of driving the teams mentioned within to this place or King's ranch. Mr. Rhine, my agent, being at this place at present, has made the statement that the owners of negroes in the district to which he is assigned, viz, the counties of Bowie, Davis, Red River, Marion, and Lamar, have positively refused to hire the negroes required. Since the date of the within letter, Agent Rhine has got ready one hundred more wagons and teams, and consequently that number of negroes will be required in addition to the number (125) asked for within by Mr. Rhine. Of course the proposition made to Mr. Rhine by planters, &c., subject to militia duty cannot be entertained for a moment. In view of the fact that the wagons and teams-they having been purchased for the Government-and the cotton to load them, are ready to take the road but for want of drivers, I have to ask, as a matter of great interest to the service, that the negroes to drive them may be at once impressed.
Major, and Quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS MARINE DEPARTMENT,
Velasco, Tex., August 9, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
SIR: Believing you are anxious to learn what progress has been made in my attempt to place the steamer John F. Carr upon her station in Matagorda Bay, I hereby do myself the honor to report the condition of affairs in the Marine Department in this quarter, and also acknowledge the receipt of a note by courier from Major-General Magruder, dated 3rd instant, indicating the wishes of the major-general commanding respecting my movements.
I arrived here with the John F. Carr, Mary Hill, and Alamo, at 7 o'clock, Thursday night, 6th instant. Since that period, I have been weather-bound by a strong and unfavorable wind, which has raised so high a sea as to prevent my going out with such frail boats. However much I regret this delay, still, I have reason to congratulate myself that such is the case, as it has enabled me to complete the arrangements I deem necessary to run the gauntlet of an enterprising and vigilant enemy.
I have established a line of signal scouts along the coast from this point to our place of destination, and expect to hear from the west end to-day, and as soon as the wind lulls, and a favorable report is made of the attitude of the enemy, I shall attempt to get the fleet into Matagorda Bay.
It may be that I shall avoid a sight of the enemy entirely, but, after getting under way, and having accomplished part of my voyage, they may have in sight.
Should such be the case, I deem it prudent to have a sufficient force to defend myself if they attempt to attack or interfere with me, and therefore shall take the steamer Mary Hill along.