In accordance with your instructions, I directed him to hold his position on the river above Brownsville, and to keep as large a body of cavalry as he could between San Antonio and Brownsville. Major Benavides, a tried and efficient officer, was directed to watch the river closely.
Since then, Aransas and Corpus Christi Passes have fallen, and the direction of the enemy's movements is apparently changed, which you will perceive from the communication forwarded a few days since. I have and always shall endeavor to obey the instructions of the lieutenant-general commanding implicitly, though time is required to transmit orders over such an extent of country as I command.
Inclosed I send a communication from General Bee,* whose views, under the circumstances, I fully indorse.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HDQRS. EASTERN SUB-DIST. OF TEXAS, Numbers 1.
Houston, Tex., November 23, 1863.
In accordance with Special Orders, Numbers 317, from district headquarters, the undersigned hereby assumes command of this sub-district.
* * * *
JAS. E. SLAUGHTER,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army, Confederate States.
November 24, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH, Commanding Trans-Mississippi Dept.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to present to you a plan for the protection and defense of our western border, which I believe can be carried out successfully, and to which I request you will give your prompt and most favorable consideration. The inclosed copies of letters to Brigadier-General Bee will explain the nature of the arrangements which I anticipate can be effected by him.+
I have forwarded to General Bee, by Don Marcos Radich, the person who proposed to act as an embassador to Cortina, these letters, but if you should not approve of the plan, I shall have ample time to countermand the instructions by courier, if I receive an immediate reply from you. Unless some assistance of this kind is received, I shall be forced to abandon the idea of defending the western part of Texas while threatened with an attack from the east and on the coast.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Corpus Christi, Tex., November 24, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER, Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston:
SIR: Your communications of the 17th and 18th are at hand. I will thank you to examine my dispatches and correct my figures, if I said
*Probably letter of November 16, p. 419.
+Not found; but see letter of November 26, p. 444.