Marina, you will be with friends who will aid you, and, once there, I think I can get you safely here.
I very much regret that I have no more power to serve you, but really I feel that the fault is with those who, ignorant of the country, doubtless supposed it was as easy to move from Tampico to Matamoras as to cross the street, whereas if is 400 miles, over a wretched road and through two hostile armies.
Answer this by the bearer, and let me know your plans.
* * * * *
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEEN,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army, Confederate States.
October 14, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, Shreveport, La.:
GENERAL: I have returned from an inspection of the post and troops at Sabine Pass.
I found the troops in only tolerable condition (generally). The commanding officer, Colonel A. Buchel, seems to be an old and experienced officer, conversant with his duties. General Magruder (whom I met with at Beaumont) spoke of him as one of the best officers he had. His command embraces territorially the country from Liberty and Galveston sea to and including Nibblett's Bluff and Sabine. He also sends some scouts and men over as far as Calcasieu, La.
The troops under his command number for duty about 1,500 men, the present and absent being over 3,000. This great discrepancy arises from the number of men detached on various duties. General Magruder has issued an order recalling all men belonging to the regiments who are employed in quartermaster's and commissary departments, and seems to be endeavoring to get them back to their commands, and their places supplied by men from the State draft; but while I was present at Sabine an order was received from your headquarters (direct), detaching 2 men from Colonel Buchel's regiment, and ordering them to report for duty to Major Minter, assistant quartermaster, Shreveport. Allow me here to remark, general, that this is the second instance in which I have seen orders directs from your headquarters to officers of this district, detailing men, which, I would respectfully suggest, is not calculated to assist the major-general in his efforts to fill the ranks of his regiments or conducive to the general good conduct of his district. There are nine companies of the Third Texas Infantry (Colonel Luckett, now detached, at quarters at Houston); Lieutenant-Colonel Gray is absent on sick leave, also at Houston; Major Kampmann was also absent, sick. It was commanded by Captain [S. G] Newton. It numbered 265 men for duty. Their clothing and equipments good; arms, Springfield and Enfield rifles, in good condition; drill, only ordinary. It has had the reputation of being the best drilled regiment in the State; this was, perhaps, the case when Colonel Buchel was the lieutenant-colonel, but now it is in need of officers.
It would appear to me very unfortunate that Colonel Luckett should be so much detached from his regiment. I am informed that he has never seen much service with his regiment, almost always being detached.