The work of destruction will go on with rapidity, and nothing will be allowed to retard or delay it.
With regard to the buildings at Lavaca and Indianola, I am instructed to say that you will not destroy them if their destruction would involve that of the whole town or of the houses occupied.
The wharves at these places will be at once destroyed. The store-houses, it is thought, can be destroyed without destroying the rest of the buildings; if not, they will not be destroyed. The general is unwilling to leave the families of soldiers houseless an homeless.
The general wishes you to use your influence, and say to the people in that section that they are not overlooked and will not be deserted. As soon as the affairs requiring immediate attention here are arranged, his attention will be given to the west, and works are now being erected for the defense of that portion of the country. After you have carried out the orders in regard to the destruction of the railroad, and other orders embraced in this communication, you will report by letter to Colonel Duff, at Texana, who has been placed in command of that section of country.
I am, colonel, very respectfully,
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
McNeel's Plantation, December 13, 1863
Colonel JAMES DUFF, Commanding Troops of the West:
COLONEL: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to direct that you take command of all the troops left in your section of the country from Texana toward the west, and of all that country.
Orders have been given Colonel Darden to use his force to destroy utterly the railroad from Lavaca to Victoria. The engine alone has been excepted, or such parts of the same as can be transported to Columbus.
If the twelve wagons forming a commissary train which arrived at Texana have not been turned over to Colonel Hobby, you will use some of these wagons to transport such parts of the engine as may be most valuable to Columbus. The rest of the engine will be destroyed. It is reported you have more transportation than your allowance. Some of your wagons can be used for this purpose if you have not the commissary train with you.
Should Colonel Darden be unable to execute the orders about the destruction of the railroad, you are directed to execute the orders and destroy it with your force.
The district court has issued an injunction against the destruction of the railroad and its appurtenances. This injunction Colonel Darden has been directed to disregard but to act in the least offensive manner possible.
If necessary as you have been placed in command of that section, you will attend to this matter, and execute all orders given him.
The general wishes some of the troops kept near Alligator Head, and wishes you to keep pickets as near the enemy as possible and in observation sending all information to these headquarters promptly. The general desires you to impress upon the citizens and troops of that section that they are in no danger of being neglected by him,nor are their claims to protection overlooked.