have kept from 2 to 4 miles of General Franklin's army, they have lately captured several small pickets, but in prisoners I am more than 20 to 1 ahead of them yet.
By General Taylor's orders, I have had negotiations open for several days with General Franklin for the exchange of prisoners in this district, and no officers who commanded negro question. We have no negro prisoners in this district, and no officers who commanded negroes, but General Tayllor has informed General Franklin, through me, that it is to be understood that there are to be no exchange for officers commanding negro troops, and Franklin replied to- day that no distinction could he made of officers commissioned by his Government, and that the negotiation for the present was at an end. I had hoped to get our unexchanged Vicksburg men, now in Western Louisiana, for the prisoners we have taken, here, together with those of my own command now in their hands. General Franklin is very anxious to send clothing and money to his officers and men now in our hands. I suppose this will be allowed. General Taylor is about 60 miles above me on the Boeur; all his infantry and Waller's battalion, of my command, are on the river near Morganza. I have heard of one boat being burned and another crippled by our artillery, but as we have nothing but field pieces on the river, the iron clads escort the transports past our batteries, lashed to them on the opposite side from our guns. I do not think the enemy are more than 7,000 or 8,000 strong now in New Iberia; they are leaving every day for the bay, and embarking at Brashear for the Texas coast. I think there is no doubt but that the whole of the army lately at this place (about 20,000 strong) will soon be in Texas; half of them are either now there or on their way. The division which Banks took to Brownsville, Dana's (formerly Herron's), I whipped a part of badly on the Fordoche, 6 miles from their fortifications at Morganza, and moved up my troops, 2,000 strong, to within 2 miles of their works, which were behind the levee. Dana did not have the "sand" to come out and fight; my fight at the Fordoche scared him nearly to death; he had then 3,500 men. I took 500 of them prisoners, and killed and wounded 150.
I am, general, truly, yours,
Brigadier- General, Commanding Cavalry Division,
[P. S.]- I send you some newspapers which General Franklin sent me to- day with his compliments. I sent your letter to General Taylor by couriers last night; also sent McNeill's to him at Opelousas; he is president of a general court martial there. McNeill is extremely anxious to get to Texas again, under your command, but he cannot be spared unless the brigade goes to Texas; he is, in my judgment, the best officer in it.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Victoria, Tex., December 4, 1863.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS, Chief of Staff, Shreveport:
Dir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of indorsement on letter from William Neale, enrolling officer of Cameron County. I am charged with-
Illegal and unauthorized assumption of authority in giving orders to enrolling officers of conscripts-
and required to explain the character of Captain Cummings' company, by what authority organized, &c.