October 17, 1863.
Chief of Staff, Shreveport, La.:
GENERAL: Information having been received from General Taylor, announcing the advance of the enemy in force against Texas, which information is confirmed by Northern papers, I request that General Smith will, through General McCulloch, order the troops under General Bankhead to come immediately to Houston. I apprehend no longer any danger from that quarter, and I have received official information from General McCulloch that the enemy has fallen back to Fort Gibson. Since writing the above, I have received news from General Taylor, stating that the enemy is on the march for Texas, via Niblett's Bluff. I wish General Bankhead to be ordered here forthwith in person, as I have need of his services in the field.
Please send the order for Genera Bankhead to return personally, direct, also in the most rapid manner, and in advance of his troops.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Houston, Tex., October 17, 1863.
Colonel A. BUCHEL, Sabine Pass:
COLONEL: The major-general commanding directs that you send at once 2 or 3 men from Sabine Pass across the mouth of the Calcasieu, to see by actually passing over it whether or not road from the Calcasieu to Arthur's Lake, or the place at which the road from Niblett's Bluff crosses the Mermenton, is practicable, and to report the fact at once to these headquarters through you. General Taylor reports that on the 10th, on the road from New Iberia to Iberville, the enemy sent a force of some 2,000 mounted men to escort a pontoon train. This would seem to show that the enemy was coming by the Coast road to Niblett's Bluff, crossing the Vermillion and Mermenton at the lower ferries, and will run in supplies to their column through these streams; hence the necessity of sending a force, if possible, across the Calcasieu to cut off supplies, 7c., sent up these streams. Please let these be intelligent men whom you send to make an examination of the road and let them report upon the practicability at once.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Mobile, October 18, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
COLONEL: Please say to General Johnston that my latest and most reliable information shows that there are very few troops in New Orleans, and only 300 or 400 (negroes) at Ship Island. There are three white regiments and two negro regiments at the Pensacola navy-yard. The yellow fever is prevailing among the troops there. Nothing indicates an early attempt to take Mobile in any quarters.