As soon as he heard of the landing of the enemy at Aransas, he sent Pyron's and Woods' regiments to a point beyond Columbia, and dispatched an aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Murray, ahead of them on horseback to Matagorda, with orders to collect the necessary transportation from that point to Saluria for the two regiments. Anticipating an attack on Saluria, it is feared that Colonel Bradfute will not have the means of transportation within reach to Matagorda. If there are no means of transportation, there regiments will be ordered to proceed by forced marches to Victoria, where it is hoped supplies will have been accumulated.
You will proceed with your whole force and all you can collect to Victoria by forced marches, and inform your men and the country through which you pass that it is not the intention of the commanding general to give up the country west of the Colorado, but, on the contrary, to defend the whole of it, if it be possible. This communication will be sent to you both at Larco Creek and Corpus Christi.
You will call on the State troops stationed on the roads leading to King's ranch and those engaged in driving cattle, and will call in all the minute-men and all persons capable of bearing arms to join your standard.
Captain Dashiell's battery of artillery is ordered in place of Creuzbaur's, broken down, to Victoria; it will leave Columbus to-morrow.
Should the enemy obtain possession of Victoria, you will fall back toward San Antonio, keeping in sight and observation of the enemy, checking his advance, and destroying any cotton or transportation likely to fall into his hands. You will gather all the spades, axes, shovels, hoes, hatchets, &c., you can gather in your march through the country, without retarding the same, sending a party ahead for the purpose, and destroying the bridge at Peach Creek if you have to pass it. You will report to these headquarters frequently, and in all cases report especially the exact number of your forces. Should Saluria not have fallen by the time you reach Victoria, you will re-enforce Colonel Bradfute, who, it is hoped, will have been re-enforced by both Colonels Pyron and Woods.
It is impossible, at this distance, to communicate detailed orders to you; you must act in accordance with your own judgment, without waiting for orders, which may be inapplicable or impracticable when they reach you, always, however, keeping yourself in close communication with all the troops nearest to you, as well as these headquarters. Should you be forced to fall back to San Antonio, you will take Dashiell's battery with you, as the commanding general has already given orders to fortify San Antonio against cavalry and artillery raids. Should, however, the enemy advance in large force toward San Antonio or Austin, whilst endeavoring to retard him by a small show of cavalry in front and placing impediments in his way, you will endeavor to place the artillery and the main body of your troops to the east of his line of march, so as to insure a junction with the troops from this part of the country. This can be accomplished by force marches and a night's start.
No expedition, however, of an immediate march on San Antonio is entertained, but these general instructions are given you confidentially to indicate the course which you should pursue if circumstances should seem to require it. In the latter case, you will give timely notice to the officer in command at San Antonio, in order that all stores from that place may be removed, if possible, or destroyed. All the means of transportation which you can collect will be taken with you, and will