HOUSTON, March 16, 1864.
Colonel JAMES DUFF,
I am instructed by the major-general commanding to say that the corn at Gonzales will be placed at the disposal of Colonel John S. Ford, only enough being allowed to remain for the garrison. The commissary an subsistence stores at Clonton and Victoria are placed at your disposal. I am further directed to say that should you find the supply of corn and provisions at Linton and Victoria insufficient, you will directs the officers or agents in charge of the depots at Hallettsville and Sweet Home to keep on hand corn and subsistence supplies enough to furnish your command in case it should be compelled to fall back to Columbus by way of Hallettsville. This movement, however, will not take place unless you are absolutely forced to it by the enemy. Should the enemy advance from Indianola all the stores at Victoria must be burned that you cannot take away. Notify the officer in charge of these supplies to this effect. You will withdraw all these stores from Victoria as well as from Clonton to your present encampment, supposed to be on the Navidad.
Should the enemy advance on Texana you will fall back to Wharton, to which place you will send a part of these stores if you have time, and make a small depot (or depots) for several days' supply of corn and meal, so as to be enabled to keep your scouts in presence of the advancing enemy and to ascertain his real intentions. Should the enemy pursue in numbers greatly superior you will fall back to Richmond, but will ascertain with precision whether the enemy takes the road to columbia or to Richmond. Arriving at Richmond, you will cross the bridge and endeavor to prevent the passage of the enemy at that point, to which other troops will be sent by railroad for the same duty.
As soon as it is ascertained that the enemy are marching on Texana you will inform Colonel Bates, and the latter will prepare for the immediate evacuation of the mouths of Caney and Barnard. Should the enemy advance east from Texana you will by swift courier inform Colonel Bates, who will cause the troops at the mouths of the Caney to cross the Bernard by the pontoon bridges, breaking or burning them as soon as the troops are crossed. Please issue an order at once to Captain Stevens to bring in all the deserters that are banded together on the Nueces.
I am, &c.,
E. P. T[URNER,]
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort Towson, C. N., March 16, 1864.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Trans-Miss. Dept., Shreveport, La.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt by to-night's mail of your letter Numbers 2267 [March 12]. By reference to my letter of last night you will perceive that the enemy has fallen upon the campaign I believed he would two months ago. In the letter of last night (misdated 16th) I expressed, for reasons therein stated, the opinion the enemy would not move through Arkansas in