Taylor, and agrees with statement made by Mr. Gildart to you. Under these circumstances, and from the fact that this force is much larger than that which Banks is believed to have with him, the commanding general does not think he will be able to concentrate a large body of troops at Kemper's Bluff, as he first mentioned. He will, however, send you what troops can be possibly spared, and he has called on the Louisiana army for re-enforcements, so as to enable him to spare troops for the western country.
Should you be compelled to fall back, you will take the line of the Guadalupe, and, if driven from that, the line of the Colorado.
Trusting that the information may speedily reach you, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. ALSTON,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
P. S.-The commanding general desires me to add that, with such troops as you have or may receive, you will endeavor to cut the enemy's communication with his base, the coast, should he pass into the interior. Dashiell's battery has arrived here from Millican, and will go to-morrow morning to Columbus, and thence to join you. Benavides might be ordered, in case of an advance of the enemy toward San Antonio, to operate on his flank and rear. The major-general commanding fears, if the enemy attack in great force here, that we shall not be able to save Antonio or Austin. He has, however, ordered an engineer to proceed to Austin, to fortify it, and also to build a work in or near San Antonio, to protect it against raids, but, of course, if a large force, say some thousands, threaten it, such a work would be of little avail, and the general has, therefore, already instructed the staff officers to remove the public stores east whenever the enemy should land in force on the coast nearest that place, say Corpus Christi, Lavaca, Saint Mary's, or Lamar.
The general commanding directs that you so manage the troops as to secure your falling back on me at or near Columbus, if forced, whilst at the same time you are harassing the enemy's flank and rear. He has ordered a concentration of the troops in this neighborhood as the most central and vital position, but will detail cavalry to your support as he can.
Buchel's regiment is in Louisiana, and the Third Infantry at Sabine Pass.
HDQRS. TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Numbers 198.
Shreveport, La., November 22, 1863.
The necessities of the military service and the preservation of the credit of the Government render the creation of an office to take charge of cotton in the district of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona indispensable, and the same is established as follows:
W. J. Hutchins is assigned to duty in the quartermaster's department, with the rank and pay of lieutenant-colonel, to take charge of cotton for the Government in the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and will be allowed such associates as may be necessary, not exceeding four in number.
He will obtain from the planters, by sale or agreement, and, if necessary, by impressment, all cotton that the Government may require for