I propose to send Colonel [H.] Maury's regiment of cavalry toward the Jackson Railroad, to break up the Manchac Bridge, at last account nearly completed, and to bring in some of the deserters and absentees who are reported to be lurking in that vicinity.
Before sending him, I desire to have General Johnston's assent to the expedition, because he may have reasons why it should not go, or may desire to indicate some other object for it to accomplish
There is a very fine new regiment of cavalry at Pollard, which, I shall bring over here to replace Colonel Maury's during its absence.
I inspected the brigade at Pollard day before yesterday, and found it in very good condition in some respects.
One of the infantry regiments, the Fifty-fourth [Fifty-seventh], is very large, and excellent in its appointments and in its drill. Colonel [Joseph] Hodgson's cavalry regiment was not armed, but is of excellent material and uncommonly well mounted.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, yours,
DABNEY H. MAURY,
P. S.-All accounts report great depression and anxiety on the part of the Yankees at New Orleans and corresponding high spirits on the part of our people. Colonel [N. G.] Watts, whom I sent to procure the exchange of Major Howard and other prisoners, now detained in New Orleans, confirms these statements so far as his observation went.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 18, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, &c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant.
The order of General Price was countermanded by me on its receipt, and Colonel Bankhead has returned with his brigade to the district from which he was removed.
The appointments of acting brigadier-generals, which were made by you and submitted through me to President for his action, having been disapproved, there is no course, left but to immediately annul them, which you will do on receipt of this communication. The law provides that for gallantry or good service in the field, appointments may be made to fill vacancies, without regard to the claims of seniority.
This claims of good service in the field has been the only one which for a long time has governed the President in his appointments of brigadier-generals. I have this assurance from himself. Bear this in mind in making your recommendations.
I will issue appointments to officers deserving reward and so recommended. The troops will be satisfied, and the Government at Richmond will, I am convinced, give its approval.
The disapproval of the President comes in a communication from the Secretary of War, bearing date of September 7.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,