The associations for local defense and minute- men are entirely voluntary, and therefore not to be depended upon. A law or proclamation of Your Excellency is necessary to place them at the disposal of the Confederate authorities if the latter have the force of law. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the militia laws are fifteen to fifty. At all events, I depend upon Your Excellency for taking such steps as will accomplish the above necessary purposes. I am satisfied that such a law at this time would meet the approbation of all good and patriotic men.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major- General, Commanding.
Rugeley's Farm, December 6, 1863.
Lieutenant T. D. WOODWARD,
Commanding Detachment Art'y, Steamer J. F. Carr, Matagorda:
SIR: I am instructed by Major- General Magruder to direct that the steamer J. F. Carr be taken up the Caney River as far as Hawkins' Landing, if possible. The guns will not be removed from her if she can go up the river, but she will be used for the defense of the river with the armament on board.
The steamer Cora will also be carried up the Caney River, if possible. Should it, however, be impossible to take the Carr up the Caney River, you will cause the guns to be landed at Matagorda, and transportation procured at once to remove them beyond the reach of the enemy. Should the enemy send a force which would be large enough to capture her, she will be blown up, the necessary arrangements having been previously made to do this. Unless the force is large enough to capture her after attacking her, she will not be destroyed. The transportation will be ready at hand to take off the guns.
Should there be a force of the enemy at the mouth of the Caney, which it is presumed there is not, these boats will not be taken up the Caney; of this, however, you must be the judge. The fuel necessary to take these boats up the Caney can be procured at Matagorda, it is thought. You are authorized to take any buildings for this purpose at Matagorda. The same course will be pursued in regard to the Core if she cannot be taken up the Caney. But neither of these boats will be destroyed unless it be found that they will unavoidably fall into the enemy's hands.
EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
HDQRS. DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &c.,
Houston, December 6, 1863.
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XVI. All the infantry of Luckett's brigade will proceed at once to Velasco, reporting to Colonel Bates. If Colonel Ashbel Smith has command of Luckett's brigade, he will assume command at Velasco on the arrival of the infantry of the brigade at that place, if his commission is anterior to that received by Colonel Bates from the Secretary of War; if not, Colonel Bates will retain command.
If Colonel Smith is not with the brigade, he will assume command