HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Houston, Tex., November 8, 1863.
Brigadier General H. P. BEE,
Commanding Western Sub-District, Brownsville:
SIR: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to acknowledge the receipt of your communication touching the recent traitorous conduct of Captain Vidal* and all the matters connected therewith.
I send inclosed an order by which you can retain the six companies of Duff's regiment, and also an order directing two companies of mounted State troops, now on the road between Goliad and King's ranch, to hasten to Brownsville and report to you.#
You will also find inclosed an order directing Creuzbaur's battery to return and report to you, if it has marched.# You will retain this battery also. In this connection I am instructed to say that it has been reported that this battery is inefficient, the men being scarcely drilled.
The general directs that you at once take the necessary steps to put this battery in a state of perfect efficiency in every respect. The men will be thoroughly drilled at the guns, and the battery properly equipped and placed on a good footing.
We are just in receipt of intelligence from Major-General Taylor that the enemy has withdrawn a portion of his force from Louisiana, the Thirteenth Army Corps, and sent it, according to the reports of prisoners, to Memphis, to re-enforce Rosecrans.
The enemy is returning from the advanced position once held by him in Louisiana, and is now below Opelousas, which place is reported to be now in our possession. Lieutenant-General Smith seems to regard Arkansas as in greater danger than any other quarter, and is apprehensive of an advance upon Shreveport after the enemy's there has formed a junction with his force in the Indian Territory.
The necessity for Duff's regiment, you will perceive, to move in this direction is not so urgent as heretofore, since the enemy, as far as we can judge from the present indications, has abandoned the project of occupying the Red River Valley, to which, however, he had never fully committed himself.
The general is desirous that you should keep Duff's regiment in good condition, and have with you the full strength of that command. He had supposed that the one company which you were allowed to retain at Brownsville, together with the two companies of citizens, would be sufficient to keep order and quiet and protect the public property at the garrison, and wishes to know how it happened that you only had 19 men of this company for duty when you had such urgent need for their services.
The general wishes that command kept to its maximum, as far as possible, and hence directs that all details be called in, excepting such as are with Major Washington or detailed by orders from Lieutenant-General Smith. Your last return does not give the strength of the individual companies of Duff's regiment, and hence we can form no idea of the strength of the company, but it surely should have more than 19 men for duty.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
*See Part I, pp. 448, 449.