been compelled to order the State troops cavalry, a portion of which had already arrived, and the remainder en route, back to Beaumont, with the exception of Company A, Eighteenth Battalion, kept there to relieve Captain Bland's company of State troops, which is ordered to Sabine Pas. Another reason which induced me to order the State troops to Beaumont was that of all the companies which arrived (with the honorable exception of Captain Montgomery's, which crossed entire), a portion of each company only volunteered to cross into Louisiana, and to divide companies in this manner, leaving the majority in Texas, would cause a complete disorganization.
Should the enemy cross the Mermenton in force, I can order the State troops forward from Beaumont, and they can reach here before he crosses the Calcasieu.
The cavalry in front are now stationed as follows: Lieutenant Aikens, with 20 men, is guarding the crossings of the Mermenton; Captain Beaumont, with his company, is at Pine Island, between the Calcasieu and the Mermenton; Captain Nolan is at the Lacacene Bayou, trying to secure the powder on the Antelope, and Captain Montgomery is at the Calcasieu Crossing.
The steamboats Florida and Uncle Ben are not sufficient to supply this post and Sabine Pass with provisions, forage, &c. The Sunflower ought by this time to be repaired, the time given for repairs having expired. As the steamboats are all in charge of the marine department, I respectfully request that an energetic officer be specially detained to watch their movements, as I am convinced that much time is unnecessarily lost by the masters of the boats in repairing and running between the different stations through carelessness or negligence. The steamboat Florida should be appraised, in three months she will make more from the Government at the rate she charges than she is worth.
To supply the line of the Sabine, it is absolutely necessary that the railroad to Orange should be pushed to completion as rapidly as possible, and, until this is done, trains of wagons must be placed on the line from Beaumont to this place, and from here to the Calcasieu. Without this, it is impossible to supply the troops on this line.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C., Numbers 293.
Houston, Tex., October 28, 1863.
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IV. The general commanding being satisfied that the enemy have not yet fallen back, Colonel Buchel, commanding at Niblett's Bluff, is hereby ordered to remain with his present forces at that place, preserving the means, if he can do so, or crossing his troops over the Sabine; his capacity to do which he will at once report to these headquarters. Colonel Buchel will be re-enforced by three companies of Debray's regiment, commanded by Major Menard, who has been ordered to Niblett's Bluff.
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By command of Major-General Magruder:
EDMUND P. TURNER,