ceived from department headquarters, I order that all officers of whatever rank and enlisted men report directly to me, in person or by letter, stating how and why they are absent from their commands.
* * * * *
N. C. GOULD,
Colonel Twenty-third Texas Cavalry, on Special Service.
HEADQUARTERS GALVESTON ISLAND,
Galveston, October 16, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose you a copy of a letter from Lieutenant Aikens, of Captain Nolan's company, which has just been received from Colonel Buchel by the express which left Sabine yesterday at 3 p. m. Colonel Buchel reports all quiet at his post, and no change in the blockading fleet.
I have the honor, sir, to remain, your obedient servant,
X. B. DEBRAY,
MINTAN, October 11, 1863.
Captain MAT. NOLAN:
SIR: I have just returned from Vermillionville. I went over with Sergeant Kehr and 4 men. I found the place in the possession of the enemy. One division of their army is following our forces up to country toward Opelousas. We could hear heavy firing all this morning in that direction. We found their men scattered out in the settlements on this side of the town. I made a dash in a caught 2 of them, and brought them to camp. They report their forces at 25,000 strong, General Banks in command; the First and Second Texas, First Louisiana, and Sixth Missouri Cavalry with them. I will start a party with the prisoners in the morning. I am busy now moving my camp across the river for fear of a surprise, although I think the enemy are going higher up the country, to cross to Texas. The prisoners say that it is generally understood in the army their destination is Texas. If I had men enough to-day, I could have captured 50 men and horses, besides bringing off a large lot of horses, which the Yankees will get.
They are all around for miles.
Very respectfully, &c.,
CHARLES E. AIKENS,
Second Lieutenant Company G, Second Texas Mounted Rifles.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Houston, Tex., October 16, 1863-9 p. m.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department:
GENERAL: I have just received Major Bryan's communication* on the subject of the conspiracy in this State, and, in compliance with your direction, I reply immediately, and will endeavor to give you as full a
* See Bryan to Magruder, p. 312.