You cannot conceive the demoralization of all classes in this country, and unless something is speedily done, I fear we shall not be able to reclaim the country without a large force.
If any troops are ordered to report to me, order them to Clinton, La,. and telegraph me at this place.
I shall keep couriers here for the present, and will pass here on my return from the lake shore, where I start this evening, to be gone six or eight days.
What are the general's views as to the persons within our lines who have taken the oath? How to be treated? Some do no harm; others do much.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Southwestern Miss. and Eastern La.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY OF THE WEST,
San Antonio, December 27, 1863.
[Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of communication dated December 19, 1863;* also of December 22, both having reached me to-day.
I have ordered Captain Cater's company to this point. It will reach here to-morrow. I have learned that the major-general commanding has ordered him to report at Houston. His company is full to the minimum, and was not mustered into service. His men are of the very best class, and peculiarly request that they be allowed to remain under my command.
There will be another company from Travis County, one from Williamson and Burnet, and there are three being organized in Gonzales and adjacent counties. Captain John Littleton has reported a company from Karnes, and a company has been reported from Guadalupe County.
A company of 80 or 90 men has been raised, and organized in Caldwell County, but has not been reported. Companies and detachments are being raised in various localities, and at present it is impossible to say what number of volunteers will take the field.
The publication of general orders, December 15, created an impression that the major-general commanding did not approve of the expedition, and there was an uncertainty in the public mind which did much to retard volunteering. The instructions from district headquarters obviate this, and I anticipate a hearty response to the call.
The instructions of the major-general commanding will be promptly executed. I shall send a courier to Colonel [J. E.] McCord, and through him ask Governor Murrah for as many companies as can be spared from the Frontier Regiment. Colonel McCord is anxious to accompany me, and I have no doubt but that I shall obtain at least four of his companies. I have already addressed a communication to Colonel Benavides, and I shall again write him at length. I propose moving in the direction of Goliad, thence across country to old Fort Merrit, thence to the ranch of San Diego, thence to or near the Great Salt Lake. I shall send Colonel Benavides from there against Davis at Edinburg, and, by a forced march, throw my main body between him and Fort Brown. If possible, I shall
*Authorizing him to organize "as many companies for special service for three months in the west" as he might be able to raise.