CAMP DAVENPORT, January 29, 1864.
Major W. T. MECHLING,
Asst. Adjt. General, Hdqrs. First Div., Army of Texas:
MAJOR: Since writing my communication to you of this date, I have received information which places the cavalry force of the enemy at Indianopola stronger than I anticipated, and it is the opinion of Captain Tevis, who reconnoitered them, that the enemy now has regular cavalry at that place. My cavalry force does not number, all told, more than 265 effective men, and many of the horses of even this number are entirely broken down from constant picket service. If any change has taken place which would warrant the sending of Likens' regiment west, I beg respectfully to ask that it be sent. I am compelled to relieve Captain Kelley's company of State Troops from picket duty, as their horses are not able to carry their riders any longer. It is absolutely necessary to relieve the picket every eight or ten days to preserve the health of man and beast, as all the water near the coast is now so brackish and full of dead stock as to be absolutely loathsome. It is necessary to have a force of at least 150 men on picket to make the service effective, and really ought to have 250. A sense of duty compels me to make this statement.
I am, major, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY IN THE FIELD,
Ewing's Plantation, January 29, 1864.
Colonel X. B. DEBRAY,
SIR: I am directed by the general commanding to inform you that Major-General Magruder orders the impressment of all negro men, women, and children in the county to make and repair the roads, and in compliance therewith he directs that you call on Messrs. Shephard, George Jones, Mrs. Bowie, Mrs. Gibson, Mrs. Thompson, and Mrs. Kinney to furnish a sufficient force, to be placed under Mr. Parker as overseer, to cut out the road from Buckner Prairie to Hawkings' saw-mill, cutting the roads, free of stumps, 40 feet wide, and bridging Live Oak Creek. The owners will furnish provisions to commence at once. Should the road toward Columbia from your camp require work, the same parties, and others adjacent, will be ordered to make the work.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. T. MECHLING,
(Similar orders to Colonels Hawkins and Woods.)
HOUSTON, January 29, 1864.
Brigadier General H. P. BEE,
Commanding Army in the Field:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from Brigadier-General Slaughter, referred by you to these headquarters, in regard to the number of troops at the mouth of the