martialed. The general does not understand how it is that soldiers cannot break mules.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HOUSTON, TEX., September 27, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Sabine Pass:
CAPTAIN: Having returned from the mouth of the Brazos, in accordance with Special Orders, Numbers 253, I have the honor to report that on my arrival at Velasco, on the evening of the 24th instant, I found Colonel Bates in command, attentive to his duties, and exercising his authority, with strict obedience from his command. He is exceedingly anxious that he should be re-enforced, especially that 200 cavalry should be sent him, he having only about 300 men, and expressing himself able to defend the works only from an attack from sea, attempting to cross the bar, or a bombardment by vessels, and not from any considerable combined effort both by land and sea. The great wealth in this section makes it a most desirable point of attack. As the general commanding is from personal observation impressed with the importance of the point, I need only call his attention to the earnest request of Colonel Bates to be re-enforced as soon as possible. The fort on the west bank of the river (Velasco) has three guns in position, one 24-pounder, one 8-inch howitzer, and one of the 32-pounders sent over from Sabine Pass. Several guns in this battery as well as those in the works on the east bank have only about 40 rounds to each.
The fort on the east bank of the river is not yet completed. There is one 18-pounder, mounted, on the right bastion; the other 32 [pounder] received from the Pass was placed in position, but the platform being too small, at its first discharge the gun flew off. A larger one has been constructed, and the gun will be mounted on the 26th instant. Lieutenant Cross, engineer, reported that he would required 200 men about fifteen days to finish this work on the plan given by Colonel Sulakowski. I received the assurance from Colonel Bates and Colonel John Herndon, who represents a large interest in that section of country, that the negroes should be furnished in the course of the next few days, and Colonel Herndon started immediately to assist in raising this force.
From Colonel Bates, and Lyons, a pilot, I find that there are from 8 1/2 to 9 feet of water on the bar. Two days before I arrived at Velasco, a vessel belonging to Messrs. House & Co. was run ashore below the mouth of Caney and burned by her crew. The captain was forced to this, being closely pursued by the three-masted schooner of the enemy which has been cruising for some time past off the mouth of the Brazos. There was a slight skirmish between the enemy (who attempted to board the vessel to extinguish the fire) and one of our scouts, but they were driven back to their vessel, some of them supposed to be killed.
On the evening of the 24th instant, a vessel consigned to Messrs. Ennis & Co. passed up the river, having run the blockade with a cargo, comprising chiefly coffee and other groceries, manifested at about $8,000.
I found in the river the schooner Henrietta, empty; a three-masted schooner, loaded with cotton; schooner Mary Elizabeth, loaded with cotton; the Cora, loaded with cotton; the Star, with import cargo; the schooner Agnes, the schooner Rob Roy, the schooners John and Lilly,