spies and traitors upon undoubted evidence against them, communicating to the district headquarters such arrests and all the evidence and testimony connected with them. These arrests must be made, when practicable, by the highest military authorities in the country, and when the person against whom testimony if offered is a known resident of Texas, the testimony will be sent, previous to the arrest, to the commanding general of the sub-district, whose order for arrest, should he deem the testimony sufficient to give one, will be obeyed by the commanding officer of the minute-men.
6. Muster-rolls must be sent forthwith, and the oath of allegiance to the Confederate States taken by each man, which oath shall be recorded in writing on the muster-roll. This latter is necessary for the safety of all members of organizations for local defense, whether called minute men, exempts, or by other names, so as to secure to them the treatment of prisoners of war if captured by the enemy.
The commanding general, whilst begging that you will accept his thanks for your services, which he acknowledges with much pleasure, thinks that in an association like that of the minute-men, purely voluntary, the local staff officer through whom he communicates with them should be of their own selection, and therefore directs that you will request them to decide at the meeting upon the name of such officer as may be most agreeable to themselves, which you will forward to the district headquarters, and through whom in future the commanding general will forward orders to them. He desires, however, that you will retain your position as volunteer aide-de-camp.
You will please read this letter to the companies assembled at the point you are to meet them, and send a copy to be read to those you call at other rendezvous. As soon as the muster-rolls can be made out, and the oath taken, and the weekly details made for duty in the respective counties, which it is supposed will take but a few hours, you will dismiss the men, and allow them to return at their pleasure to their homes.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. ALSTON,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 31, 1863.
Major-General TAYLOR, Commanding District of Louisiana:
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general directs me to say he is constantly receiving communications from Richmond, urging the importance of having a force for operations on the Mississippi River exclusively. Colonel Harrison has under his command his own and Colonel McNeill's regiments, with Major Capers' battalion, Cameron's battery of four guns, and a section from Ralston's battery.
The commanding general directs that the two regiments and the battalion be organized into a brigade, to which the battery and section will be attached. They will be put on duty as soon as possible, and will report direct to your headquarters. He believes this command will not only render valuable service in obstructing the navigation of the Mississippi River, but also materially aid in the establishment and maintenance of communication with the other side.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant, and Aide-de-Camp.