person liable to conscription who make this and Camp Moore their place of daily resort. Many of these men join volunteer companies, patrol the country, and levy contributions on the citizens, and many escape conscription by the most false and idle excuses, which excuses are seldom, never to my knowledge, investigated, as they should be, strictly and rigidly, under the exemption law. A provost-marshal who understood his duty, and was not willfully blind to it, could vastly aid the Government in securing the services of these men. As it is, the conscript business in this and neighboring parishes is a mere farce and mockery.
If you, general, in consideration of the foregoing facts, should be of opinion as to the necessity of a provost-marshal in this section, I would gladly accept the office if you would honor me with the appointment. I am above the conscript age (fifty-four), and my character and competency will be vouched for by Secretaries Mallory and Benjamin and Senator Semmes. I would discharge the duties of the office faithfully under your orders, and, I have no doubt, I could save the Government thousands and thousands of dollars, and effectually arrest this illicit trade, which is draining the country of its chief element of wealth and credit.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
A. G. SEMMES.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Houston, Tex., November 22,1 863.
Brigadier General H. P. BEE,
Commanding Western Sub-District:
GENERAL: The commanding general has received your communication of the 16th instant as regards your plans for future operations against the enemy, and, in the main, approves of them.
Should the enemy occupy Corpus Christi and delay attacking Saluria until we can re-enforce that point, it is the intention of the commanding general to send to Kemper's Bluff, on the west bank of the Guadalupe, at least a brigade of troops.
This point is mentioned, as he is informed that supplies can be carried there by water.
Re-enforcements have been sent to San Antonio to Major Dickinson, viz, one company of Davidson's battalion, from Austin, two companies of State troops from Velasco, and one company of State troops from New Braunfels; all cavalry.
The State troops from Northern Texas, consisting of about 750 men, part mounted, are also ordered, on reaching Navasota, to march to San Antonio.
Dashiell's battery, which is now in fine order, has been ordered to you in place of Creuzbaur's, which arrived at Sweet Home, 25 miles from Columbus, in poor condition.
The distance between your camp on San Fernando and Kemper Bluff is believed to be about 120 miles.
Since writing the above, the commanding general has received information that the enemy in Louisiana has fallen back toward the coast, and, it is believed, will embark and attack us by sea at some important point on the coast. His force is variously estimated at from 15,000 to 20,000 men. This information comes from Colonel Buchel and General