do not know if this latter has been done, as there is scarcity of transportation at Niblett's Bluff.
Please acknowledge the receipt of this and other communications as early as convenient.
I have the honor to be, &c.
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
McNeel's Plantation, December 22, 1863.
Colonel [J. S.] FORD,
COLONEL: I am instructed by Major-General Magruder to request that you proceed at once to San Antonio and take command of all the troops there and in that section, and organize all these troops, excepting such as are absolutely required by Major Dickinson to guard the public stores at San Antonio. This presumes that the operatives will be sufficient for this purpose. You will order the two companies of State troops under command of Major [A.] Waltersdorf to join you. You will take all the troops from Eagle Pass, excepting 30 men of Weyman's company. Sneed's detachment will
also be ordered to join you on the road. You will take also with you all the troops you may raise at Austin.
The inclosed communication from Captain Ware is presented for your consideration.* The troops alluded to in his communication will be under the command of Major Rogers, or, if he is not with the command, under Captain Ware. All these will be taken with you on this expedition. You will also take with you the company of State troops from San Antonio.
Colonel Baird has been ordered to report to you and accompany you with all the forces he may have or may raise. Circumstances may render, it necessary for you to be supported with re-enforcements, and a regiment and a battery of artillery will be sent you if these troops can be spared from this section, but it is impossible to spare any more troops at present, as the enemy in very large force, is threatening this section.
You will create the impression among all persons, your men as well as others, that you are coming to Indianola all persons, your men as well enemy and, after you have left San Antonio, you can strike off to the west. You will be very particular, and will not let a soul know of your intended movements. By making a sudden and rapid movement, you may be able to create a panic among the enemy; and, if so, you will follow it up and gain every advantage you can. If possible, capture the enemy's artillery, and appropriate if you can, and take their horses,; if not destroy it and throw it into the river.
You are particularly requested to rapidly report your progress from time to time, so that it may be known where orders can reach you, and when you arrive at the Rio Grande, report it to these headquarters, by express, through Colonel Duff, at Texana or Victoria. When you approach the Rio Grande, it will be well for you to send forward a small party of Mexicans ahead to the Rio Grande, to burn and destroy any steamers in the Rio Grande. You can send for this purpose a small party across the river, who, after burning the steamers, may escape and return to you.