3 P. M.
Since writing the above, I have received information of the retreat of the enemy in your front to New Iberia, which seems certainly to indicate their embarkation for Texas, and, in order to meet the overwhelming force attacking several points, I must have re-enforcements. By rapid marches to Niblett's Bluff, your forces may reach Texas in time, and I urgently desire that you will advance with the utmost rapidity to my relief. If you will communicate with me immediately, I will have supplies of corn and provisions at Niblett's Bluff and on the Calcasieu ready for your army. I have written to General Smith, urging this step, as the salvation of Texas depends upon prompt and decisive action. Please answer a soon as possible, and inform me how many troops you can send me.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Corpus Christi, Tex., November 21, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston:
SIR: In reply to your order of the 16th, directing me to keep up communication between Texas and Mexico, in order that important communications might be forwarded to Havana, I state that my last accounts from Matamoras left matters too much unsettled to risk the sending of dispatches through Tamaulipas. All the arrangements contemplated through Major Russell have been frustrated by his departure from that place. Through Eagle Pass and Monterey is the only sure way that now presents itself; from Monterey Mr. Quintero will have all dispatches safely forwarded. I can send through to Laredo with safety, but to go down the river on the Mexican side would be too much risk at present; the letters should be sent to San Antonio and thence to Monterey.
No further news from the Rio Grande.
I trust the general commanding will send me troops, as it is bitterly mortifying to me to be running through the country with hardly a bodyguard around me.
The general commanding expects his officers to fight the enemy, but he must not expect me to sacrifice the lives of our valuable soldiers to a mere sentiment, for the enemy at the Pass are certainly 10 to 1. I ought to be away from here to-day with all the material of war, but I will not go until I am forced to do so. This place is too remote from the base of supply, and can be turned either above or below.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.
November 22, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON:
SIR: In submitting to your consideration the important facts constrained in this letter, as I am personally a stranger, I beg to state I am a refugee from New Orleans, and have been residing here for upward