War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0524 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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not be made known. There is no doubt that they must do something, as they cannot remain long on the peninsula or the islands.

I learn from Major Dickinson that Davis, Haynes, and Vidal, after occupying Ringgold Barracks, are moving up the Rio Grande, on Eagle Pass or San Antonio. The communication was dated the 4th of December. As no confirmation has been received of this movement, I doubt its truth, but that they will march up, I feel quite certain. To meet the force now here, I have only about 6,000 men, badly armed, including the garrison at Velasco.

About 1,000 men, including troops of all kinds, may be gathered at San Antonio. I have written twice, requesting that Colonel Ford, who is recognized as superintendent of conscripts but about whose legal status there is a doubt, be assigned to duty as colonel, from the date of his old commission, to command the cavalry in the Western Sub-District. San Antonio or Austin, or both, would seem to be the objective points of the enemy,a s believed by the lieutenant-general commanding, but he has no sufficient land transportation, as far as I can understand, and therefore the reports of his intention to operate on the coast in conjunction with his fleet seem to be probable. In any event, he will so greatly outnumber me that I cannot but ask the consideration of the lieutenant-general commanding to Major-General Taylor's offer to come to my assistance with his forces, as Louisiana must have been denuded of the enemy's forces are this. To concentrate and fight him where his presence and operations are most dangerous would seem to be our policy.

I am glad to hear that the lieutenant-general intends to come soon to Texas. There are many important matters in which his influence, added to my own, would be of service, and I hope he will not delay his visit, as we cannot afford to lose time.

I forward reports of a plot to liberate the Federal prisoners at Tyler.* It would afford me considerable relief if the Governor could be induced to grant the penitentiary as a military prison. I have asked it twice, but in vain.

A cargo of 300 Spanish rifles, erroneously reported as 25,000 English rifles, has arrived. Captain Da Ponte has discharged his mission with fidelity and talent, and obtained from the general of the French forces in Mexico the release of 16,000 Enfield rifles. I hope the lieutenant-general will unite with me in urging upon the cotton bureau of Texas the absolute necessity of making any and all sacrifices to obtain pay for these arms. I fear in their desire to perfect their commercial plans they will not realize the paramount importance of this object.

I have ordered the Victoria and Lavaca Railroad to be destroyed, the wharves at Lavaca, and the storehouses at both places. I had previously ordered the wharf at Indianola to be destroyed which was done. I directed the engines to be removed, if possible, to Columbus for the use of the railroad there.

I request that the lieutenant-general will order regular reports to be made to me weekly, and oftener if necessary, by Major-General Taylor, or the commanding officer of his advance, as to the strength of the enemy at New Iberia or Berwick Bay, via Niblett's Bluff.

General Green's command has not arrived in Texas. I have heard unofficially that it was moving on slowly, and dispatched a courier to hurry it forward. I have long since placed large supplies for it at Niblett's Bluff, and ordered a portion to be forwarded to the Calcasieu. I


*Not found.