invade the State this winter, I will relieve a portion of them by furlough, say one-half at a time, to enable them to pitch their crops, but if they are not legislated in, I think we shall have little prospect of a successful campaign next spring. It requires an age almost to get the troops of Texas together, and they should not be lightly dispersed, either by furlough, by detail, or by disbandment.
Inclosed I send an able communication on this subject by Major Cave,* of my staff, who is charged with the organization of the State troops. I fully concur in the views therein presented, and earnestly invite the attention of the lieutenant-general commanding.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 26, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER, Commanding District of Texas, Houston:
GENERAL I yesterday wrote you, inclosing copies of two letters received from General Taylor.
I have since received two letters, under date of October 22 and 23, of which copies are inclosed.#
These letters, you will see, indicate the Red River Valley as the line of the enemy's operations, and although I do not regard it as absolutely certain, I think it probable the enemy's plans are changed, and that Louisiana, not Texas, will be the theater of their operations.
You will push your preparations for sending the disposable force of your command to re-enforce General Taylor. The military road from Niblett's Bluff to Alexandria is about 120 miles long. It crosses the Calcasieu 30 miles from Alexandria; at that point the roads fork for Cotile and Natchitoches.
If your force move within two weeks, this will probably be the best route, and a junction can be made with General Taylor at Cotile, or possibly lower down. You should keep yourself in communication with him, and the movement of the troops will be governed by the information he gives.
You will report without delay the strength, and character of the re-enforcements which will be sent to Louisiana, and whether you will command in person, or, if not, who will command.
I feel that the efficiency of your troops will be greatly increased by your presence. The defeat of this column, if it pushes up Red River Valley, must be complete. Upon it hangs the fate of the department, and its whole disposable strength should be concentrated to make success certain. Make all your arrangements promptly; keep me informed of your progress, and when information reaches me fully committing the enemy to the line of the Red River, I will send orders for your command to march.
You will, however, move your command without awaiting orders from department headquarters should the information received by you from General Taylor satisfactorily prove that Louisiana and not Texas is the point of attack.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
#See Part I, pp. 389. 390.