November 26, 1863-10 p. m.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER, Assistant Adjutant-General:
SIR: I have just returned from Saluria. I arrived at that place at 2 o'clock last night. I gave the instructions to Colonel Bradfute, and also the dispatches. The enemy are in force on Saint Joseph Island, supposed to be about 3,000. These forces have crossed their pickets over on Matagorda Island, 12 miles up the island, bringing them within 28 miles of the fort. The advance picket numbers about 175.
There are a great many, or in fact all, of the enemy's cavalry force mounted upon horses that were captured from our cavalry on Mustang Island. They are reported to be fine horses.
Yesterday there was a large transport passed in the direction of Corpus [Christi] Pass; also another large transport passed this morning in the same direction. All, I think, from the best information I can get, will stop at Cedar Bayou or on Saint Joseph Island. I was also informed that the enemy had taken five light-draught steamers at Matamoras from King, Kennedy & Co. These steamers, I think, are on the coast of Saint Joseph Island. They were off Mustang Island two days ago. these steamers can run in any of the bays and rivers on this coast.
Colonel Bradfute seems confident of holding the fort, and says if he can get rations and assistance from the outside, that he can hold against any force.
I have at this place, ready for transporting troops and supplies, the John F. Carr, and also nine sailing vessels, sufficient to carry the troops (Wood's and Pyron's regiments) intended for that place. I will leave for Colonels Wood's and Pyron's camps early in the morning. They can get down to this place by the time these boats can get on the commissing with the transportation of troops.
There is a very great necessity for a company or two of cavalry on the island. The cavalry that are on duty on the island are raw militia, that are driven in front of the enemy's pickets at pleasure; neither can they find out or are they sufficient acquainted with troops to judge of the number or force.
I learn on my arrival at this place that all the mills on Old Caney are at work grinding meal for the Government. I will start as many of the schooners as can be spared up Old Caney for the meal and corn that is now and will be collected.
I will write you again from Columbia.
Yours, very respectfully,
J. A. MURRAY,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Houston, November 27, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department:
GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit, for your information, copies of letters received last night from Colonel Bradfute and Brigadier-General Bee, from which it will be seen that Saluria has probably fallen into the hands of the enemy.* From the inclosed paragraph, cut from
*See Bee to Turner, November 24, 1863, p. 442.