Lavaca. The tardiness in destroying the railroad may have induced him to advance for the purpose of getting possession of the track.
You are directed to allow nothing whatever to prevent you from destroying at once the whole of the track to Victoria, burning the ties, and utterly destroying the iron, coaches, flats, &c. Should Judge Wheeler interpose any obstacle or resort to any device to prevent the immediate destruction of everything connected with the road, you are directed to arrest him, and take entire control yourself. Nothing will be allowed to prevent you from carrying out these orders.
You will keep these headquarters, as well as Brigadier-General Bee's, advised by swift express, of all movements of the enemy, and will resist his advance in every way possible, should he attempt to move forward.
Should the portable part of the engines not have been removed, and should it be impossible to remove them at once from any cause whatever, you will utterly destroy everything.
EDMUND P. TURNER,
HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CAMP OF INSTRUCTION
Camp Wharton, December 27, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, District of Texas, &c.:
CAPTAIN; I am sorry to be compelled to acknowledge that depredations of the kind as stated in your communication of date December 26, 1863, have been committed, but I have used precautions to prevent any further misdemeanors. A guard had been placed over the cistern and sugar-house of Mr. Westall before I received your order, and I also had the woods searched for the lead pipe which was taken away. I have thus far been successful in finding five pieces, which have been returned to Mr. Westall. The captains of the different companies have been ordered to keep their men in camp, and not to give any permits for a longer period than one hour at a time, and one company camp is now surrounded by guards, and none of the men allowed at all to leave camp excepting when on duty.
I have, however, to state in defense of the men of the different companies, that this camp is a very inconvenient one for so many batteries, having only one well to rely on for water for men and horses, and the pump of the well is in such a condition that it is half the time out of order, caused by the breaking of the chain; therefore, watering parties have to go into the plantations to water the horses. I have issued orders that such be always commanded by a commissioned officer, but the owners do not like to see these parties enter their plantations, and raise a cry against them and against the whole command.
If Mr. Westall had acted less offensively against the men of this command when we first came here, many difficulties would have been avoided; but he raised the anger of the men by abusing them and their officers in their hearing. This, of course, does not excuse the depredations which have been committed, but it may serve in some measure to extenuate the offense.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
Major, Commanding Artillery Camp of Instructions, Camp Wharton.