appear to you desirable, you will at once report them to him and to me, with your views. In all cases they shall have prompt action.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. GILMER,
Major-General, and Chief Engineer.
November 21, 1863.
Brigadier General HENRY E. MCCULLOCH,
Commanding Northern Sub-District, Bonham:
GENERAL: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to say that, in order to avoid all possible misunderstanding on the subject of orders, you are hereby directed to send not only the State troops, infantry and cavalry, as heretofore ordered, to Houston, via Millican, but all the available Confederate troops which you have at Houston.
The State troops you were allowed to retain were Settle's battalion and the three companies of cavalry under Major Carter; these you are still allowed to retain, if, in your judgment, it is absolutely necessary for the defense of your sub-district.
The enemy has not only taken Corpus Christi Pass and Aransas Pass, and captured our men and guns, but will probably take Saluria before this reaches you. Advises from General Green, in Louisiana, state that [the enemy] is retreating from Vermillionville, with the view of landing on the coast of Texas. This latter [landing] will be in very large numbers.
The available force under your command, by forced marches, may reach here in time to render the greatest possible service to the State. All parts of the State will be lost if the troops are so disposed as to be weak at every point. The policy of the major-general commanding is to concentrate where the enemy is in greatest force, and fight him.
I am, &c.,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
November 21, 1863-12 m.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,
Commanding District of Western Louisiana:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit, for your information, a synopsis of the contents of two letters just received from Brigadier-General Bee* and Colonel Bradfute,+ relative to the movements of the enemy, and announcing the capture of Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi Pass.
From this intelligence, you will see that an attack may be expected at other points along the coast, an event foreshadowed by the retreat of the enemy in Lower Louisiana.
I therefore urgently call your attention to the necessity of pressing and harassing them as much as possible, so as to render their embarkation a difficult task. I hope to be able to get troops west in time to save Saluria and Velasco, two most important points on the coast, and everything you can do to delay the enemy in embarking will be of the greatest assistance to me.
*See Part I, p. 433.
28 R R-VOL XXVI, PT II