Taylor, relative to the movements of the enemy. I am concentrating at and beyond Beaumont, on the Neches, all of my disposable force, and have anticipated your wishes in this respect.
In regard to the State troops, I regret to inform you that they refuse to cross the Sabine, and as far as operations in Calcasieu are concerned, I have to depend on Confederate troops alone. I have made addresses to them, which I hope will be productive of some good.
I have been subjected to the most vexatious difficulties and obstacles in moving troops and supplies to the Sabine, the railroad being in the worst condition, frequently requiring more time for the transportation of supplies than if they were sent by wagons; besides, the steamboats frequently get aground, and are prevented from ascending the river by strong north winds.
I am using every possible exertion to keep my troops at Niblett's Bluff well supplied with forage and provisions, which is extremely difficult, as the country lying east of the Sabine produces almost nothing, not even grass enough for grazing. I have now at Niblett's Bluff a battery of light artillery, and some six companies of cavalry, and I trust that I shall soon be able to have operating in Calcasieu 1,000 cavalry and a battery.
In case the enemy advance upon the Red River country, your directions in regard to sending my troops in the direction of Natchitoches will be obeyed; but at all events I cannot send much of a force northward, without leaving Houston open to an attack from toward the sea, which I fully anticipate. I am greatly in need of troops, and have every reason to believe that an attack in force will also be made on the coast. In this connection, I would respectfully urge that Bankhead's brigade be ordered at once, by forced marches, to Nacogdoches, so that I may hold it in readiness to throw it in the direction of Natchitoches, with a view to forming a junction with Taylor's and Holmes' forces, or, if necessary, to bring it to Houston, in the event of another plan of attack by the enemy. I also respectfully request that General McCulloch be ordered, direct from department headquarters, to collect at once and send all the State troops in his sub-district, armed or unarmed, to the same place (Nacogdoches), where I have directed a depot of corn and provisions to be made. Should these troops not arrive in time, they will be a body to fall back upon in case of defeat, or they may assist in the pursuit in case of victory.
General McCulloch has 400 stand of arms, which I will leave with him, with two mounted companies to act against deserters. He should be directed to arm the unarmed infantry, and cause them to be mounted, if possible. If absolutely necessary, Captain Krumbhaar's battery of four mountain howitzers could remain with General McCulloch. Captain John R. Baylor's company will probably collect a large number of deserters, but force should be used by General McCulloch, as I have given until the 31st of October for them to come in, and mild and conciliatory measures have been exhausted. In regard to Bankhead's brigade, I beg leave to state that I sent to the relief of General Steele, in the Indian Territory, expecting it to be returned to me, and though I am perfectly willing to obey any orders, I would not have sent it, had I known it would have been retained, without making a strong but respectful representation against its being sent, which I now respectfully do against its being retained.
I have official information from General McCulloch that the northern frontier is considered safe for some time, at least, and by retaining Bankhead's (or Gano's) brigade in the Indian Territory, I am crippled in
24 R R-VOL XXVI, PT II