very much needed to cut the timber in front of the defenses down, and clear the ground. The forest, in its present condition, will afford too many facilities to the enemy for an approach. All the brushers of or on the abatis ought to be burned off for the same and other reasons. The greatest deficiency consists that the projected plank defenses on the west side of Old River are not yet commenced. To finish those two plank defense, it will require more than 100 negroes to finish them in two weeks, as both will be situated in a low, marshy, and thickly timbered section. Furthermore, I have to state that for the magazine I find that only a portion of the timber fis cut and on the ground. To put the timber together, get the still required timber cut, and bring it to the ground, to frame the timber, and put it up, and afterward to cover the whole sufficiently with earth so as to have it safe, will take 4 carpenters and about 25 negroes to finish it in five or six days.
There is one new large flat-boat we brought with us in coming to this place. Another one designated for this place is ready also at Beaumont, where I saw it. A third one will be finished in two or three days, as the contractor told me when I took the one this morning and brought it with us. From the arrangement I saw, there is no doubt that the third one will be ready at the time said. Those three flat-boats are sufficiently large to carry each at once from 100 to 150 men of infantry or two field pieces of cannon, with caissons and horses at once.
All of which is most respectfully submitted by your most obedient servant,
Captain, &c., Assistant Engineer.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Houston, Tex., October 22, 1863.
Commanding Northern Sub-District;
GENERAL: Major-General Magruder positively orders that you send Bankhead's brigade to Houston by force marches. The enemy are certainly advancing on Niblett's Bluff, and no time can be lost in concentrating his forces.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
STEPHEN D. YANCEY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS LINE OF THE SABINE,
Niblett's Bluff, La., October 22, 1863.l
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 19th instant. On the receipt of Lieutenant [C. E.] Aiken's report, which I forwarded to you, I ordered him to fall back to the Calcasieu, keeping scouts toward the Mermenton on the different roads. I have received no further news from his since then. Captain Nolan left yesterday afternoon with the few men he had here, to join Lieutenant Aikens on the Calcasieu. The difficulty with Captain Bland's company of State troops I arranged amicably. Captain Bland left last night, with Lieutenant Jackson and 10 volunteers from his company, to re-