men as are acclimated, who can be procured, perhaps, in New Orleans and from points on the Rio Grande.
The major-general does not entertain the belief that a separate expedition will be made against your position at this time. If the enemy intends to make an attack on Galveston, Saluria, or any point on the coast in this quarter, he will certainly make a diversion on the Rio Grande. The coast in the vicinity of the populous and inviting country of the Brazos is in great danger.
The general directs, however, that should the enemy attack your position in force, or should you receive authentic information that he will make an attack, or will make an effort to establish himself at Point Isabel, on the mainland, you will, with Colonel Duff's command, your artillery, and any other forces you may have, use every effort to repulse him, and prevent his advance in every way possible for a small force to resist a large one.
In this connection, permit me to say that the general wishes, if you have sent any of Duff's command to Major Benavides, that you at once cause this company, or these companies, to rejoin their commands. Should the enemy land in overwhelming force, and you find it necessary, you will, of course, evacuate your position at Brownsville, saving everything possible, and retire up the river, removing all your stores, ammunition, &c., to Roma, or some point near that, always keeping as near the enemy as the safety of your stores will permit.
You will, immediately on the reception of this order, cause all superfluous arms and ammunition now at Brownsville to be sent to Roma, from which point you will cause it to be shipped to Alleyton. This order has been previously given in regard to the ammunition.
The general directs that should you be completed to yield your position at Brownsville, you will be very careful not to allow any property to fall into the enemy's hands. Should there be cotton or other property exposed, without any chance of removing or saving it, you will cause it to be destroyed. Allow nothing to fall into the enemy's hands.
The general directs that the cotton destined for Brownsville be diverted to Roma, save so much as is actually required at Brownsville.
The general anticipates an attack on Galveston, Saluria, or the Brazos.
Should we lose any of these places, we must necessarily evacuate other points of vital importance on the coast. These are the keys to the country. The railroad communication being once in the enemy's hands at any of the above points, the others must fall. A glance at the map is sufficient to show this. The works at Galveston, which have cost us so much time and labor to construct, and which are model works of their kind, will, under the above condition of things, have to be evacuated without a blow.
These circumstances render it necessary that a very large portion of the general's forces should be at Galveston Island and in supporting distance, and also renders it necessary that Buchel and Woods should remain in supporting distance of Corpus Christi and Saluria.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
[AUGUST 13, 1863.-For Bankhead to Turner, in reference to Steele's command, see Series I, Vol. XXII, Part II, p.965.]