HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., November 5, 1863.
Colonel J. GORGAS, Chief of Ordnance, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of September 19, relative to a supply of arms and equipments en route from Europe for this department. In replying thereto I have the honor to inclose for your consideration copy of a letter from Captain [F.] Mohl.* It show his plans for getting vessels safely into the Brazos River. Had the vessel of which he speaks come to that point, I have no doubt the arms could have been successfully landed, as other vessels have been running the blockade there for some time past. A vessel with 8,000 stand of arms was lately seized by the French at the mouth of the Rio Grande; it may have been the one expected by Captain Mohl.
The difficulties of moving a large supply of cotton to the Rio Grande are insurmountable. It is a two months' journey from this point, with no forage for the animals on the road. Besides, the season during which trains can pass over the roads in Texas is just closing; when the wet weather commences, the transportation of any supplies there will be impracticable.
With all the energy which the cotton agents have displayed, they have not been able to place on the Rio Grande a supply adequate to the wants of the Government. I will do all in my power toward the accomplishing of this object, but I fear none of the supplies sent to the Rio Grande will reach the department in safety. The French have captured the only two vessels which have ever entered there with arms for us. If found in Mexican waters, they are seized by the French; if in our waters, by the Federal cruisers or blockaders.
I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS LINE OF THE SABINE,
Niblett's Bluff, La., November 5, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: Captain Daly's company of cavalry being on the Calcasieu, Captain Wooten's company of State cavalry being ordered to gather beeves, and one company of Debray's cavalry having left for Galveston, it leaves Sabine Pass with but two cavalry companies, weak in number, to do the picket duty, and furnish couriers on the line from Sabine Pass to Galveston, and from Sabine Pass to Beaumont. For this purpose three cavalry companies are imperatively necessary.
Major Tait's battalion State cavalry, after reaching Taylor's Bayou, received countermanding orders, and returned to Beaumont. Captain Bland's company of State cavalry is on the march to Sabine Pass. On their arrival, there will be barely sufficient cavalry, together with the two companies of Debray's regiment now there, to perform the necessary duties, as before stated. You will thus see that for the present, or until other cavalry can be sent there, it will be almost impossible to spare the two companies of Debray's regiment.
The schooner Manhasset has been unloaded. Gould's regiment has