the troops under my command are now concentrated above Opelousas excepting a small force of cavalry stationed near Berwick Bay to watch the enemy.
The enemy have concentrated a large force at Berwick Bay. They have thrown a force up toward Pattersonville, so that it is impossible for me to observe their movements. My impression, from all I can gather and observe, is that the expedition is intended for Texas. The force is estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 men, but this is only surmise. Their force is certainly large. They may attempt to march from New Iberia to Niblett's Bluff. Should they do this, I hope it will produce a disaster; at any rate, I can make them very unhappy.
I send your communication to General Taylor, and will act according to his instructions.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Sabine Pass, September 22, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
GENERAL: With a view to strengthening all of the weak points in the vicinity of this post and giving his personal supervision to the same. Major-General Magruder left yesterday evening on a tour of inspection of the coast running westward, and will perhaps be absent two days. In the interim, he directed me to give you a full report of the situation here, the progress of our works of defense, and his views as to the probability of an attack and his anticipations as to its result.
The fort, our main reliance in case of an attack from the navy, has been strengthened by the addition for two 30-pounder Parrot guns (its armament at the time of the fight consisting of two 32-pounders, two 24-pounders, and two 24-pounder brass howitzers), and by increasing the thickness and height of the walls. In addition to this, the captured steamer Clifton will soon be ready for service, and, under the command of the gallant Leon Smith, with her brave crew, who have seen service under him before, she will be an invaluable acquisition in the defense of the Pass. Her armament consists of two 9-inch Dahlgren guns, one 30-pounder Parrott, and three smooth-bore 32-pounders. The Sachem was so completely disabled that some time will elapse before any use can be made of her. She has, however, been removed to Sabine Lake, and her guns placed in works on the shore.
anticipating a landing of the troops on the beach with a view of turning the fort, in case of the renewal of the attack, the approaches to the fort and town are being rapidly fortified, under the direction of Colonel V. Sulakowski, and light artillery has been put into position at the most inviting and weakest points of attack.
The country in the immediate vicinity of this place is a flat prairie, interspersed with marshes and mud flats, and practicable for cavalry as well as infantry in dry weather. A large force of negroes are at work on the intrenchments, and the major-general commanding is confident that if he cannot hold Sabine, it will at least prove a thorny entrance to the interior of Texas. Our forces consist of Buchel's, Gould's, and Luckett's regiments, Griffin's, and Brown's battalions, three four-gun batteries of light artillery, and some 300 cavalry; in all,