November 9, 1863.
Commanding Northern Sub-District:
GENERAL: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to say that you will not send down any of the troops from your command until you have succeeded in capturing, destroying, or driving out the deserters in certain parts of your district.
We have received unofficial information of the retreat of the enemy to Berwick Bay in Louisiana. Something may occur in a short time to render a change in the orders in regard to the movements of the troops of your command necessary.
You are requested to use every exertion and spare no effort to arrest or expel the deserters said to be congregating in your command.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
November 9, 1863.
His Excellency PENDLETON MURRAH,
Governor of Texas:
SIR: Since the date of my communication to you in reference to the absolute necessity for retaining the State troops in service, official information has reached me of the advance of the enemy, via Arkadelphia, in the direction of Shreveport, which seriously threatens the wheat region.
The enemy have fallen back again to Berwick Bay, rendering a movement from that point upon our coast probable. I am satisfied that nothing short of the retention of the State troops for the war, with such action as will secure the arrival and presence in the field of the entire fighting population in an emergency, will avert the dangers before us.
The placing of the State troops in the service for the war will not only convince the enemy that we are determined to maintain our ground in Texas, but the troops will feel at once that their status is fixed as soldiers.
I am, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Santa Gertrudes, Tex., November 9, 1863.
Major SANTOS BENAVIDES,
Commanding at Laredo:
SIR: It is all-important that the trains of cotton now approaching the Rio Grande on the various roads should be protected, and you will take such steps as your judgment may dictate to insure it. The cotton on the Brownsville road was turned to Roma, that in the vicinity of this place has been sent to Laredo, and the rest will all go to Eagle Pass. You will make such disposition of the two companies under your command as will guard those roads and insure the safe passage of the river or its destruction.