War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0489 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

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December 7, 1863- 11 p. m.

Colonel J. BATES,

Commanding Mouth of Brazos:

COLONEL: The two men I sent down to reconnoiter yesterday morning have just returned, and report that they went close to the enemy's lines, which extend across the peninsula at Philips' house, 6 miles this side of Decrow's Point. They intended to pass themselves off as stock- hinters and get passes to go inside the lines, but were prevented from getting to the house of a citizen who would assist them in so doing by the enemy's lines being too close and they being discovered. They report having gathered the following information from citizens, which they consider reliable:

The enemy's headquarters are in Decrow's house. There are two regiments, mostly infantry. They scout or forage daily some 5 or 6 miles this side of their lines,in parties from 25 to 50 strong infantry; have only 30 horses. A large transport arrived on Saturday; don't know what she brought. A colonel is in command. Their business appears to be to get beef and mutton; have no intention of advancing farther up the peninsula than necessary for this purpose; have two gunboats there and some transports. Gunboats can't get through the pass. They have taken three lighters loaded with cotton, over which they are cuing a great to do. There were 6,000 at the taking of the fort at Powder Horn. They are waiting for their command. On their return, the scouts met Harred and his squad of men at Williams', 25 miles this side of the enemy's lines. Williams was going with them, and they intended going inside the lines. It was at 9 o'clock this morning that they were at the lines.

They met Lieutenant Dance and squad at Forrest's, 7 miles from here.

At 9 o'clock to- night I discovered lights on the bay and up Caney. I sent a men down the beach, and went myself along the creek to the mouth of the canal, to ascertain the cause, &c. The lights were evidently on vessels in the bay, but the night is too dark and the distance too great to ascertain their nature or number, but I should judge it to be at least five, and not far from the mouth of the canal when last seen. All have now disappeared.

We are watching closely, and the men are very vigilant, and do their duty, though heavy, with alacrity. I stand guard half the night myself.

I remain, colonel, you obedient servant,


In haste.- I heard a steamboat whistle in the creek, between the canal and Sargent's, just now.


December 7, 1863.

Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,

Commanding District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona:

The meal and salt spoken of in your communication of yesterday is in the vicinity spoken of; the meal at Hawkins' Mill, sacks having been sent by Captain T. Lubbock; the salt is at a Mr. Jones'. I have