in Havana. The latter you will relieve by my order, and direct him to proceed forthwith to Houston, via Brownsville.
Having made such arrangements as you can make in Havana, you will proceed to Nassau, and inform Mr. Heyliger of the extreme need of this department for arms immediately, requesting him to send Government arms in Government vessels, if it be possible, and informing him that vessels can enter the Brazos drawing not over 8 feet, and at Pass Cavalo drawing not over 8 feet, and that the Brazos and cavallo have no blockaders at the time of your departure, although there are some in the neighboring waters of Galveston. If the arms be Government arms, the expenses, &c., will be paid in cotton, and if private arms, 100 per cent. above the invoice cost, we paying expenses. After having given sufficient time to the execution of the above duties, you will proceed to Richmond, and to the Ordnance Department, report your steps, and represent the great want of arms in this department, which the general commanding represented before leaving Richmond and since his arrival here.
Having made such arrangements as you can, you health permitting it, you will return by way of Mississippi or Havana, reporting upon you arrival.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 15, 1863.
GENERAL; Your letter concerning the works at Grand Ecore did not reach me until my return to this place. At Grand Ecore, I met Colonel [L. G] De Russy, and, at his suggestion, concluded to accompany him farther down the river. I think that the mouth of Black River is the most suitable for the defense of Red River, and the work, although heavy, will require but a small garrison. I am aware that this work cannot be undertaken if the enemy move up from Berwick Bay. If the opportunity is favorable, I would suggest an inclosed work of a diamond shape (conforming to the locality), with four bastions; the parapet should be at least 40 feet thick and 12 feet high, with a wide, deep ditch all around. Four or five chains of railroad iron under the guns of the work would be of great advantage. I do not think that there is any other, point on the river than can be so easily fortified after a foothold is made, that can be as easily defended, or offers so many advantages. There are many points on the river above suitable for strong defense, with a small force, against gunboats. The position at Plaisance has the advantage of covering Cane River.
I do not think it practicable to place permanent obstruction in the river. Lieutenant-General Smith has directed that the obstructions in the mouth of Tone's Bayou be removed, and steps be taken to stop the cut-off. This will take nearly all the water from Red River above Grand Escore, and, owing to the scarcity of wagons, will make it difficult to supply your army from this region.
I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. R. BOGGS,
Brigadier-General, and Chief of Staff.