interest. In a day or two I shall be able to inform you whether the enemy's operations are against Louisiana or Texas. In the meantime I am fortifying Burr's Ferry. Should Texas not be invaded until after the rainy season sets in, I should consider the coast and Louisiana's frontier as comparatively safe for a few months; in which case I will concentrate all the available force in the State, and proceed with you in person to Forts Gibson and Smith, and clear out the Indian Territory, returning in time to meet the enemy in the spring campaign. He is evidently, however, trying to strike at the heart of Texas this fall, and must be defeated at all hazards, whatever frontier suffers.
Please inform me if January, February, and March are good months to operate practicably in the neighborhood of Forts Smith and Gibson.
I thank you for the full details you have given me, and they shall be attended to as soon as the letter can be written; in the meantime let my order for the movements of troops be promptly obeyed, and the troops marched with great rapidity, however grave may be the consequences to any locality, since you may be assured that, if we sacrifice a lesser interest, it will be always to preserve a greater.
The letter of my adjutant-general will give detailed instructions upon the points mentioned in your communications.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Fort Brown, Tex., September 28, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston:
SIR: The schooner Love Bird, loaded with arms, and consigned to Hale & Co., under the Clements contract, arrived off this bar on Monday, the 21st. Information was given to me on Wednesday at 12 o'clock m.; on Thursday and Friday it blew a gale, and no boat could cross the bar. On Saturday, I succeeded in discharging three lighter-loads from her, and on the same evening at 8 o'clock she was captured by a French frigate, which arrived at 5 o'clock p. m.* At sunrise on Sunday the frigate left for Vera Cruz, with the prize in tow. There was no possible opportunity for me to communicate with the frigate. The Mexican authorities embargoed all the shipping so soon as the Frenchman arrived, and although $1,000 [was offered?] (through an agent, of course), I could not get permission to take a boat out. The boats on this side were too small to cross the bar, which was rough and dangerous.
The results is, that if the elements had not been against us, I could have saved all the arms. The blockaders were absent, but another equally fatal enemy was at hand. I exercised my best judgment, and have at least 4,000 splendid Enfield rifles, which I shall forthwith dispatch to Alleyton under guard.
A full statement of the facts concerning this shipment will be made out and forwarded to Vera Cruz by the first vessel; duplicates will also go to Mr. Slidell at Paris. The vessel lay in Mexican waters, as the captain could not be induced to change his position. Nearly half of her cargo was landed at Point Isabel, and every circumstances goes to
*See also Bee's communications of September 29 and 30, and October 3, 13, and 19, and Turner to Bee, October 9 and 19.