HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,
Camp near Banquette, March 22, 1864.
Captain E. P. TURNER,
A. A. G., C. S. Army, Major General Magruder's Hdqrs.:
SIR: I have the honor to forward, for information of the major-general commanding, copy of communication from Colonel Benavides,* and also to report that I have sent couriers in every direction to hurry up the marching troops. I expect Colonel Showalter here within two days, also two companies from Helena, Captain Jones' company from Goliad, Captain Penaloza's from San Antonio, making in all 1,000 men. With these I shall attack the enemy in the rear. I shall move up the Nueces, and prevent the enemy from making a dash upon San Antonio should he attempt it. I shall operate upon his rear, let him move as he may. The junction of Colonel Benavides and the troops at Eagle Pass will swell his force to some 500 men. The companies raised by Captain Fly, which are to organize on the 26th instant, and those of Colonel Sweet, if he has sent them forward, will augment my command to 2,000. With these I think I shall be able to defeat the enemy. We have two pieces here, and I have ordered Captain Christmas to move others to the front as soon as he can. There is no grass in various portions of the country. Unless I can march from point to point where there is grass, the country is absolutely impracticable. I regret that many of the men have no means to carry ammunition, except in haversacks or their pockets. I hope the major-general commanding will forward as many Enfield rifles as possible.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
JOHN S. FORD,
ALLEYTON, March 22, 1864.
Captain E. P. TURNER,
SIR: The State troops that should have assembled in this county at Camp Webb, at least 2,500 men, have not met and organized; not more than 80 men assembled at any one time. The conscription law is almost a nullity, not being rigidly enforced. More men are shirking the service than at any previous time in this county during the war. I really regret to communicate such a state of things, but I think our commanding general should be kept informed of what is going on in the country. Some person who dares to do his duty should be placed in command, to compel all who owe service to our country to render it. Please inform me if the commanding general wishes me to continue to inspect the State troops, when organized and in the field, or if my office of inspector-general of State troops under the new organization is at an end. As heretofore, I am ready and willing to render General Magruder all the services I am capable of affording him.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY L. WEBB,
Aide-de-Camp and Inspector-General State Troops.