ing, he is unwilling to make the exchange at present, although you have expressed a desire to be relieved from duty on the Rio Grande, and Brigadier-General Slaughter, who will shortly arrive at Brownsville, wishes to be placed in command on the Rio Grande frontier, and to be continued in the same. The major-general commanding desires you to continue in command until the diplomatic plans and arrangements set on foot by you be brought to a successful issue.
This will be handed you by Captain Ransom, of Brigadier-General Slaughter's staff,whom I have the honor to present to your kind consideration and courtesy.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
C. S. (late U. S.) War Steamer Clifton, Sabine Pass, September 17, 1863.
At or now Vermillionville, La.:
GENERAL: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to say that from information deemed reliable he is led to believe that the enemy will make an attack on this place with a force of at least 20,000 men. The largest force which can possibly be assembled here in time and without exposing other vital points of this district is 3,000 men, all told. Under these circumstances, Major-General Magruder is convinced that unless your forces are joined with his it will be hopeless to be successful against such odds, and that it will consequently be followed by the separation of Louisiana from Texas, and the result will probably be that this State will be invaded by the enemy on a large scale.
The major-general commanding directs me to say, however, that every preparation is keeping made to receive the enemy here, and he will be firmly and resolutely met.
The major-general commanding requests that you will send over to this district the cavalry belonging to Colonel Bate's regiment, inasmuch as Lieutenant-General Smith has ordered the regiment to Texas. You will please send them to Houston.
If you move at once with your forces, you will probably be able to form a junction with Major-General Magruder. Should you not be able to effect a junction, and the enemy force us from this place, he will place you in a dangerous situation by occupying Niblett's Bluff at once and throwing his forces across to Alexandria, thus making an effort to cut off your retreat.
Major-General Magruder's position here is a good and the enemy will be resisted here at all hazards.
A junction of your forces with Major-General Magruder would, in his opinion, perhaps turn the scale in our favor, and might change the whole features of the campaign here.
If the enemy occupy Houston and the railroad radiating from that point, it will be hopeless for us to think of holding any position of the Trans-Mississippi Department; for he who holds Houston with its railroad communication is master of Texas, and hence virtually master of the department.
I have the honor, &c.,
EDMUND P. TURNER,