HDQRS. DIST. OF TEXAS, NEW MEXICO, AND ARIZONA,
Houston, Tex., October 26, 1863.
SIR: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to say that he regards it as so important that you should remain on the Rio Grande, that he has furnished you a detail of the course he wishes you to pursue, having the greatest confidence in your patriotism and ability to conduct with foreign powers the important business intrusted to your care.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
Captain, and assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Houston, Tex., [October] 27, 1863.
Chief of Staff:
SIR: I have the honor to state that the reported arrival of General A. J. Hamilton and staff in New Orleans, if true, furnishes a sure indication of a speedy invasion of Texas. The information from Lieutenant Aikens, forwarded to Lieutenant-General Smith on yesterday, is deemed correct, as he is a very reliable officer. It is my belief that were the enemy to occupy the wheat region, going up Red River, his line of communication would be so long that it could be easily cut, and the wheat region could be wrested from him, particularly while the river is low; but if he occupies Houston and Galveston, his line of communication cannot be cut, being parallel and close to a river (Buffalo Bayou) which would be in his possession, and thus he could immediately change his base to Galveston, and it would be impossible to drive him from it, or to recover Houston, the center of the system of railroads, which he would sooner or later put into operation, and thus be enabled to support his army. With Houston in his possession, he would soon have all the machinery of government established-his Governor, his Legislature, and his judiciary-presenting to the world the appearance and in part the reality of the conquest of Texas at one blow. I have, therefore, ordered Brigadier-General McCulloch to send down the brigade of Brigadier-General Bankhead by forced marches to this place, and the State troops, with the exception of two companies, to be assembled at Nacogdoches, which troops were diverted from that point by the late threatened invasion from the Indian country, leaving Colonel John R. Baylor to operate against the Indians, under the orders of Brigadier-General McCulloch, with his one company of Rangers and such men as he can induce to join his standard, subject, however, to such other disposition as Brigadier-General McCulloch may think proper to make.
The rest of the State troops which are armed, I have ordered to the neighborhood of Niblett's Bluff, and have a company of cavalry, to observe the enemy, the advance guard of which has been near Vermillionville, and when last heard from were on the Mermenton. As Brigadier-General McCulloch may possibly detain the troops at Bonham, not perhaps being fully impressed with the danger which threatens more vital points, I think it would be well that an order should be sent him direct from your headquarters, should the lieutenant-general command-