complied with my instructions, as I know he would do, he could have given no cause for his detention on that account, as he could not see any more than we could do from the shore.
The 8-inch howitzer which I brought from Brownsville crossed the Nueces en route to Columbus ten days ago, and must be near that place by this time; there are no troops with it.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, November 26, 1863.
General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 17th instant.
I am on the eve of leaving for General Holmes' headquarters in Arkansas, where the movements of the enemy render my presence for a short time necessary. On my return, I will endeavor so to arrange matters as to visit you in Houston.
From General Taylor's communications, as well as from Federal papers, I see that Franklin remains in Louisiana with two corps. Banks' force cannot, therefore, by very large. His occupation of Brownsville and the Rio Grande with any considerable force would be placing it out of position without obtaining control of the Mexican trade. His true base of operations is Matagorda Bay, with San Antonio for his objective point. If the interruption of the Mexican trade is his object, the railroad to Victoria would be put in operation; he would control a productive country, and his base for ulterior operations would be in striking distance of Houston and the railroad system of Texas.
If General Banks is in the force you represent, you must look for and prepare to meet speedy operations against your defenses of Matagorda Bay.
I am, general, very respectfully, and sincerely, yours,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
Houston, Tex., November 26, 1863.
Brigadier General H. P. BEE,
Commanding First Division, Army of Texas:
GENERAL: Your communication of the 21st instant has been this evening received.
Letters from Colonel Bradfute of the 23rd state that the enemy is advancing on Saluria, having crossed Cedar Bayou. The Matamoras being in the waters of the bay, may seriously interfere with the retreat from Saluria, should one become necessary, unless Colonel Bradufte can make use of the cotton gunboat John F. Carr, and place guns on the Lucy Gwin, Cora, and Lady of the Lake, which it is hoped he will do.
As soon as the information reached the commanding general of the landing of the enemy on the Rio Grande, he ordered Colonel Bradfute to keep all the gunboats and sailing vessels in Matagorda Bay, and by their means to throw supplies through Lavaca to Victoria.