November 23, 1863.
Major A. G. DICKINSON,
Commanding, &c., San Antonio:
MAJOR: I am instructed by the major-general commanding to direct you to call upon Captain Schleicher, of the Engineer Department, and order him to lay out forthwith the following works, which must be constructed without delay, viz:
1. A fort for 1,000 men, on the hill where the old powder-house is, to be built forthwith.
2. A strong earthwork around the arsenal, with flank defenses.
3. A strong earthwork around the armory.
4. A fort to protect the Confederate States tannery above San Antonio.
The first two forts above mentioned to be commenced at the same time and finished as soon as possible. In the meantime, the arms and important machinery could be moved, if necessary, into the work around the arsenal, and remain there until the armory shall be fortified. A battery of artillery will be sent to San Antonio in time to arm all the forts, when necessary. Platforms for field guns in the forts must be casemated at proper points, and they must be provisioned with subsistence stores and water for fifteen days in each fort.
Negroes have been ordered to be collected by the labor bureau, and will be at San Antonio within a fortnight, but this delay is dangerous; therefore, the work must be done now and in the following manner:
1. Captain Schleicher has engineer tools, which he will retain at San Antonio till further orders, and issues to be strictly taken care of and accounted for at the end of each day.
2. The fort on Powder Hill is to be built by the citizens of the place and vicinity, who must be turned out, divided into reliefs, and set to work, under men appointed by you or your successor, who will make them work. Each person who has a spade, shovel, hoe, pick, or ax, must bring it within him; these will e hid by some, if precaution is not taken. Captain Schleicher will arrange the working parties, and superintend the same, under your command. You and he will consult freely with Colonel [P.] Stockton, who is expected to lend you all the aid in his power and heartily co-operate with you.
3. The work around the arsenal is to be done by all the soldiers you have under your command, and all the operatives and detailed men in the ordnance and other staff departments, Major Washington's men included.
4. After this work and that around the armory are finished, the fort for the protection of the tannery is to be erected by the soldiers, operatives, and detailed men of all the staff departments uniting on it. At first the parapet need only be made thick enough to resist light artillery and cavalry, and may be strengthened afterward. As soon as the negroes arrive, they will relieve the citizens and soldiers in this work. If there by any negroes in San Antonio, impress them, and set them to work on the arsenal fort; also send out parties on horseback, if you think it advisable, and impress all the made negroes, except [one] on each place, between the ages of sixteen and fifty you can, and give receipts in every case, so that when the impressing officer of the labor bureau goes into the same part of the country, this receipt may be shown, and the remaining negro not be disturbed.
The major-general commanding directs that you will say to the citizens of San Antonio that he will defend their homes and city with all