HDQRS. DIST. OF TEXAS, &C., Houston, October 18, 1863.
Brigadier-General BOGGS, Chief of Staff, Shreveport, La.:
SIR: I have the honor to state that information received from General Taylor, by letter of the 11th instant, from Opelousas, and also from other sources, forces me to believe that the expedition now at Vermillionville is designed for Texas, and that forces are now moving with a pontoon train in the direction of Nibletts' Bluff. The strength of the enemy's force now at and near Vermillionville and on the way via Abbeville is variously estimated at from 30,000 to 40,000 men. I am apprehensive that Ord's corps, now at Pascagoula (Ship Island), which I believe is destined for this district, may fall upon our coast at any time, and act in concert with this land invasion.
I regard it as a misfortune that General Taylor did not adopt my suggestion, and a comply with my request to fall back to Niblett's Bluff by which his forces would have formed a junction with mine. I find myself unable to concentrate at any point than 8,000 men; under these circumstances, I regard this place as in great jeopardy, and am satisfied that without concentration of forces other than mine on the line of the Sabine, it must inevitably be lost, as the enemy's force is so large as to prevent the hope of successful resistance by my forces unaided. Galveston, probably, and the railroads go with Houston, and the heart of the Trans-Mississippi is irretrievably gone.
I am inclined to believe that the enemy will remain in the vicinity of Opelousas until he can execute a flank movement, and, by crossing the Sabine at or below Niblett's Bluff, force me to evacuate Sabine Pass, and thus secure that place as a base before making a forward movement in force. I am of opinion, that Major-General Taylor, if he can get on the Opelousas road to Burr's Ferry, or below, may yet with my forces. I have so written, and requested him to move accordingly. Unless this concentration of forces is made, and that speedily, I regard the condition of this place as extremely critical, and think it will be rendered more so should there be a concerted movement against the coast, which I apprehend from Ord's corps.
I deem it my duty to furnish this information and to state my views, in order that the calamity which the occupation of this place by the enemy would entail on the whole department may, if possible, be averted by timely action of the lieutenant-general commanding, whose presence at this moment I desire greatly, as he would see for himself the force of what I state.
I will endeavor, if the coast country will permit it, to operate on the enemy's left flank the coast and to intercept his supplies. If General Taylor will move on the Alexandria road to Nibblett's Bluff, it would be better than by Burr's Ferry; then we might defeat him.
Conspirators seem for the present to be applied, but with the advent of the enemy they will recover.
I am, general, very respectfully, and truly, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding District.
HOUSTON, TEX., October 18, 1863.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR, Commanding Western Louisiana:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 11th instant, and am satisfied from this and other information that