War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0410 W. FLA.,S. ALA.,S. MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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Mobile, Ala., November 13, 1863.

Colonel B. S. EWELL,

Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. Western Dept., Meridian, Miss.:

COLONEL: In reply to yours of this morning respecting the geographical limits of this department, I suggest that all north of the thirty-second parallel be taken out of it, and that the counties of Jackson and Hancock, in Mississippi, be added to it. The department will then be bounded north by the thirty-second parallel, west by Pearl River, and east by Yellow River in Florida, and will include only such points as I can better reach and control than any other department commanders.

With respect to the transfer of troops from Quarles' to Cantey's brigade, please tell General Johnston that my proposition will rather conform to than depart from the principle of getting troops into brigades who are from the same sections of country, for I should have transferred the two Louisiana battalions into the same brigade with the two Alabama regiments, leaving the five Tennessee regiments to themselves.

I am very anxious about my supplies now; as to drawing them from my own department or this State, it is out of the question. The stores I had accumulated for a siege have been for months running down, and nothing coming in. I hope the general will let me draw on the cattle of Major [W. E.] Moore, in accordance with requisitions already sent.

Major [J. J.] Walker has been, by his own voluntary act, my chief of subsistence, but he thinks it necessary for me to have some one assigned to that duty. I desire Captain [W. H.] Vasser for that position, who is, I believe, in General Johnston's command.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sheliha, of the Engineer Corps, has been most efficient and energetic since his arrival here.

The number of negroes is now larger than ever before. Colonel Sheliha makes many tools for them, and seems to have infused his own energy into his subordinates.

Can you find a command for General Shoup?

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Shreveport, La., November 13, 1863.


President of the Confederate States:

SIR: I have the honor to forward to Your Excellency the inclosed dispatch from Major-General Magruder, announcing the occupation of Brownsville, Tex., by the enemy.* This event has long been anticipated. It has always been beyond the power of Major-General Magruder, with the limited force at his command, to prevent the occupation of the Rio Grande by a Federal expedition in any force. His district threatened from Kansas and the Indian Territory on the north,and by a formidable expedition under General Banks in the east, necessitated the concentration of his whole available force. But even were the troops at his disposal, the character of the country, and the long and difficult line of transportation between his base of supplies and the Rio Grande,


*See letter of November 10, 1863, p. 403.