HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,
San Antonio, February 1, 1864.
Cap. E. P. TURNER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Major-General Magruder's Hdqrs.:
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to forward, for the information of the major-general commanding, copy of communication from Colonel Benavides.* I have the honor to report that Colonel Baird has been instructed to move in the direction of Fort Merrill, via Helena. Captain Cater will be sent directly to Oakville. All the troops are being prepared to move to the front. Colonel Benavides and Captain Ware have ordered to make reconnaissances as near the lines of the enemy as prudence will permit. The news of the probable advance of the Yankees will be forwarded to Fort Inge and Eagle Pass. Captain Giddings will be ordered to re-enforce Colonel Benavides from that point should it be necessary. I am not satisfied that the supposition of Colonel Benavides is correct. The lapse of time is against it, but there is enough to require vigilance and circumspection.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
JOHN S. FORD,
CONFIDENTIAL.] BONHAM, February 1, 1864.
DEAR GENERAL: Some days ago I received your highly esteemed favor and read it with great attention. The outline you give of your views touching the defense of Northern Texas gives me fresh assurance that we shall not be overrun without a struggle, which really for a time seemed to be the case. The condition of things over here you understand as well as I could inform you, and the less that is put upon paper, except in cases of necessity, the better. I may say, however, that he clue given by "J. D." (I believe those are the letters you give in your last to General McCulloch) will probably enable the general to thread the labyrinth and bring many hidden things to light; the balance of opinion is certainly greatly in our favor, and if we can get hold of the right ones I believe we shall be able effectually to stop that leak.
You will perceived I write under some constraint; the truth is, I apprehended that communications by courier run some risk, in the unsettled state of affairs, of falling into hands for which they were not intended.
General McCulloch is growing restless and dissatisfied, and is anxious to go to the field. It would be difficult to fill his place should he go away, and my notion is that he is making the effort. Northern Texas and the Indian Department have been neglected so long that they have become the most difficult and the most responsible command in the Trans-Mississippi Department. I tremble for you. A great name is in store for you or you fall into the rank of failures; the latter may be your fate, and might be the fate of any man, even after an entire and perfect devotion of all one's time and talent, for want of the proper means. In military matters these things are never considered. Success is the only criterion-a good rule, upon the whole, though in many in-