out the hands of the sugar planters of the parish of Rapides, exempted during the operations of the grinding season. An additional number of teams, it is also expected, will be furnished in a few days for those works. The major-general commanding still hopes to be able to leave here to-day or to-morrow to visit your headquarters.
I have the honor to be, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
P. E. BONFORD,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD, Ewing's Plantation, January 20, 1864.
Colonel ASHBEL SMITH,
Commanding at mouth of Bernard:
SIR: The major-general commanding has ordered that "under no circumstances will the enemy be permitted to gain possession of the mouth of the Bernard."
The fulfillment of this obligation is hereby intrusted to you by the brigadier-general commanding. The general directs that you will make such disposition of your forces as may render them promptly available, keeping always a force of not less than 100 men in the fort. You will cause the cavalry to patrol the beach at night above and below you, so as to prevent surprise. These patrols will be relieved every two hours, so that each relief will meet the returning guard at about half way of the distance, say, 10 miles, toward the mouth of Caney on the one side and to Velasco on the other.
Colonel Luckett will be ordered to co-operate with you in the cavalry picket from Velasco. You will establish your main camp at the most convenient proximate point where wood and water can be obtained, and establish signals at night between the camp and the fort by firing brush heaps or other simple modes until you can be furnished with rockets, requisitions for which have been made. You will report everything of interest occurring, and communicate freely as to the necessities of your command with these headquarters.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. T. MECHLING,
Abstract from morning report of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Colonel A. Buchel commanding, for January 20, 1864; headquarters Camp on Cedar Bayou.
Command Officers Men Aggregate Aggregate
General staff 5 - 5 6
1st Texas 34 509 703 796
Brown's 29 409 503 626
Davidson's - - - -
Moseley's 4 78 87 97
Total 72 996 1,298 1,525