superiors. I only do know the strength and efficiency of my own command, and what I can ascertain of the enemy's field of operations, but I have felt it to be due to myself thus frankly and in proper official confidence to prelude my reply as above, and I offer the following answer to your queries, first premising, what you already know, that my orders are to fortify my position and be ready for defense, and not attempt occupation of the mainland with a view to permanent position or advance. If Magruder is at liberty, by our acting on the defensive, to concentrate his forces for the attack of either of our positions, Indianola should be re-enforced by not less than 3,000 men, to enable its garrison to hold the present position against such force as he could probably bring against it.
The garrison of Matagorda Island should be increased to 2,000 men. There should be at Indianola not less than 500 cavalry and at Matagorda Island 150. I do not think there is a sufficient object to be gained by the continued occupation of this peninsula. Magruder cannot attack a respectable force here without great danger to himself, and could not with safety occupy it if it is evacuated, and if he did he could be easily dislodged and could not do much injury if allowed to remain. The principal object of it now is to furnish and outlet for the few deserters who can make their way through the enemy's lines at Caney. In advancing these views I always suppose myself aided by the naval squadron on the coast, as at present. In addition to the artillery we now have, there should be on Matagorda Island one Parrott rifle, 100-pounder, provided either with siege carriage or with chassis carriage, traverse circle and pintle, and implements complete, and two 20-pounded Parrotts, field guns; and at Indianola two 20-pounder Parrotts. These should be supplied with 400 rounds each. Should Indianola be abandoned then the garrison at Matagorda Island should be increased to 3,500 men, with 250 cavalry.
There should always be two light-draught gun-boats inside the bay. You have already been informed by me that the enemy have four steamers (two of them cotton-clad) and two armed schooners at the head of the bay. These are not formidable and lie along the reef, with the channel filled up; but should the enemy and ourselves reverse policies, they assuming the offensive and we standing on the defensive, they would not be long in cleaning out the channel and bringing out their flotilla. If Indianola is abandoned it will probably be occupied by the enemy and defended, and in event of its probable reoccupation by us would be burnt, together with the long wharf which is there. It seems to me we are bound to hold the place, not only by our own interests and policy, but in honor, as most of the people there have taken the oath of allegiance and would be endangered by our abandonment of them. The want of cavalry to keep the enemy's mounted force from my communications and the fear of an order to abandon our friends at those places and the adjoining district, have alone prevented my occupying Victoria and Texana, and from collecting all that there is between Guadalupe and Colorado Rivers.
The occupation of Decrow's Point has prior to this compelled the enemy to keep a considerable force between the Caney and the Brazos, but as his fortifications there are now far progressed and extensive, and as the defile through which an army would have to advance by that route is very narrow, he is no longer compelled to keep his main force there to contest our expected advance. If I