HEADQUARTERS POST OF VELASCO, TEX.,
December 29, 1863.
Captain L. G. ALDRICH,
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that a steam gunboat was discovered this morning about 12 m. off the mouth of the San Bernard. After firing a few shots there, she lowered her sails and steamed up opposite our batteries and fired eight shots, all of which fell short, and were not answered by our guns. She then put about, hoisted her sails, and soon disappeared to the westward.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. N. LUCKETT,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY OF THE WEST,
San Antonio, December 29, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
A. A. G., Major-General Magruder's Hdqrs. in Field:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that I have taken steps for the prompt execution of the orders of the major-general commanding. I have addressed communications to various persons who are enrolling men for this service. I have not had an opportunity to learn what effect the indorsement of the major-general commanding has had upon the popular mind. I am sure it will create an enthusiasm productive of happy results. There is, however, one drawback. The idea of an expedition to the Lower Rio Grande was received with great favor, and many men would have volunteered for that purpose who would decline joining an expedition for Indianola.
Captain Cater's company has arrived. In all, we cannot muster at this point more than 100 men, exclusive of Captain Adams' company and Lieutenant Sneed's detachment. Captain Littleton will be ordered up to-morrow, and the company at Seguin will receive marching orders per next mail. I feel confident that the men will be had.
Colonel Benavides has been instructed to make no forward movement; to guard well against surprise; to keep himself well informed of the enemy's numbers, localities, and intentions; to prevent him front taking possession of horses and cattle; to collect them for the use of the army; to established a depot at or near the Salt Lake; to have it well guarded, &c.
Similar instructions have been forwarded to Captain Ware, and he has been directed to aid Colonel Horde in establishing a depot at Fort Merrill.
I have no quartermaster. Major Hart will probably have the kindness to allow Captain Merritt to report to me for duty temporarily.
I have arranged to procure Mexican rope, which I can exchange for manilla with Major Hart.
I have negotiated for some 260 Mexican blankets, weighing 6 pounds each. I am to pay 50 pounds of cotton per blanket.
I am anxious to obtain permission to use the camels now here as pack animals. They would answer admirably for the expedition.
I know of no officer whom I can assign to duty as acting commissary of subsistence. If the major-general commanding can spare me an officer of experience, energy, and activity, it will forward the moving of the expedition.
I have sent Colonel E. R. Horde to Fort Merrill to contract for horses, mules, pack-saddles, &c., and to procure rations of subsistence and forage.