ing his infantry as fast as he can obtain horses. The process of fitting up transports goes on at New Orleans. The best information point to Matagorda Bay as their destination. Seven gun-boats are now lying at the mouth of Red River, but none have as yet entered the old river. Some of the reports received from New Orleans state that the expedition now fitting up there is intended for Red River. This is not as probable as the destination above mentioned. General Mouton, in a dispatch of the 7th instant from Monroe, states he has received no information concerning the arms nor any further instructions from department headquarters. I respectfully and earnestly request that some bacon, or pork, or salt beef be at once sent to Monroe from Shreveport for the use of Mouton's command. The beef-cattle are now very poor, and falling off every day, and the want of salt provisions is severely felt by the troops, especially in Mouton's division. General Mouton also represents that many of his men are without shoes. The men were well provided when they left here, but have worn out their shoes in the severe march. If possible, some shoes should be sent from Shreveport.
The heavy guns sent down are now at Fort De Russy, and will soon be in position to control the passage of the river. The very bad weater of thee last month has materially delayed operations, but the work has been pushed as fast as circumstances would admit.
I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of the copy of General Magruder's communication of the 22nd ultimo.* The estimate of the enemy's force then in Texas is entirely too large. Up to that date the number of Banks' forces in all Texas did not exceed 10,000. Any changes in the enemy's dispositions calculated to affect General Magruder will be promptly reported.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 8, 1864.
General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 4th instant, from Shreveport. I was entirely unprepared for General Magruder's Chinese method of conducting war, but trust he may succeed in frightening the enemy. Notwithstanding the confident assertions of Major Douglas as to my errors, I repeat, the first intimation I had of works at Trinity was contained in your letter from Camden of the 23rd of December.+ This was followed by a letter from Major Douglas to Major Surget, dated Camden, 25th December. Major Douglas then passed through Alexandria, went to Shreveport, thence to Camden, before I had any means of knowing that he had visited Trinity, much less thought it advisable to construct a work there. It certainly appears that Major Douglas might, during the day he passed in Alexandria, have written the same letter he afterward wrote from Camden, and thus saved much valuable time.
With regard to thee covering force suggested by Major Douglas, to consist of 500 infantry and a regiment of cavalry, I stated that I had
* See Vol. XXVI, Part II, p. 523.
+ See Vol. XXII, Part II, p. 1110.