General Weitzel and McMillan in First Division, or Nineteenth Army Corps (all Eastern men), followed up by Generals Ord and Washburn, of the Thirteen Army Corps (all Western men), from Grant's army at Vicksburg.
About 500 army baggage wagons, prepared with water-tanks on wheels, preparing for a long march. All say destination Rio Grande; General Franklin in command. Bank is now in New Orleans.
One negro cavalry company about 200 negro infantry.
Colonel Landram is in command in Franklin with three regiments, with (a provost-marshal); four pieces of artillery.
There is much bad feeling existing between the Eastern and Western men.
Generals Weitzel and Franklin commanded the expedition to Sabine Pass, which resulted in the loss of the Clifton and other boats. The expedition under them returned to Berwick Bay and came up through Franklin.
There have been no new expeditions fitted out for Sabine Pass or Galveston. From all I can from the officers and privates I have talked with, they all think Texas will be a hard road to travel.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 20, 1863.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,
GENERAL: Your letter of the 16th was received yesterday. I am convinced that Texas is the objective point of the column which moved from Berwick. With the wet season so near at hand, their delay is extraordinary. It may be occasioned by difficulties, encountered in completing their preparations, or the success of Bragg may have suspended the expedition; the latter seems plausible. The re-enforcements reported drawn from Grant's command will so weaken him on the Mississippi that he may well hesitate about sending a column into Texas, where it will not only be far removed from the most important theater of operations, but will be a constant drain upon his diminished command for re-enforcements.
Difficult as you may find it, you must exercise great caution in your operations. You must restrain in your own impulses as well as the desires of your men. The Fabian policy is now our true policy. In the present state of the public mind, a defeat to your little army would be ruinous in its effects. When you strike, you must do so only with strong hopes of success. I do not wish to put too great a restrain upon you. The ability with which you have conduced all the military operations in your district assures me that no fault of the enemy will escape your notice, but that, whilst you act on the defensive, you will know when to assume the offensive. I instructed General Boggs to write to you that should the force collected at Berwick move on Texas by Niblett's Bluff, opportunity and time would be given for obstructing and defending Red River. The result of his examination was that works at the mouth of Black River are practicable, and will more effectually defend the district than at any other point that can be selected. A small work, with obstructions under its guns at Madame Georges, Plaisance, Grand Ecore, or at other suitable sites, might be quickly constructed. Such defenses at two or three points would probably delay and prevent the advance of a column up the Valley of the Red River through the season of high water.
Major Douglas has gone to your headquarters, and will consult with