the remaining officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of this company will hasten, by their devotion to their new duties, to redeem the character of the company, and that he may yet see them among the best soldiers under his command and have cause to be proud of their future conduct.
6. The major-general commanding announces to the army that he will not hesitate to dismount any corps that disgraces itself by plundering and damaging the property of any citizen, and that he will remove the colonels, lieutenant-colonels, majors, and captains, if necessary, of those regiments, battalions, and companies which commit such crimes, holding always the officers highest in rank responsible for the conduct of their inferior officers and men.
7. This order will be read at the head of every regiment, battalion, and separate company of this district at parade, the day after it shall have been received, and for two consecutive evenings in addition, immediately after which every commanding officer of a regiment, battalion, or separate company will acknowledge its reception and state in writing that it has been so read, and will forward such statement direct to these headquarters. A failure to do this by any commanding officer will be positive and willful disobedience of orders, and will be followed by the arrest and trial of any commanding officer as above mentioned unless a satisfactory reason can be given for the same.
8. Brigadier-General Slaughter, chief of staff, will direct a staff officer, in addition to his other duties, to see that the provisions of paragraph 7 of this order are promptly and accurately carried out.
By command of Major General J. Bankhead Magruder:
EDMUND P. TURNER,
San Antonio, Tex., March 24, 1864.
Brigadier General JAMES E. SLAUGHTER,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose, for the information of the major-general commanding, copy of Colonel Benavides' report* of his fight at Laredo, received here at a late hour last night per express; also copy of letter from Colonel John S. Ford to Captain C. H. Merritt, assistant quartermaster, which shows that he is fully aware of the movements of the enemy, and is moving with all rapidly possible for the purpose of striking him in the rear. I have the honor further to state that Captain G. H. Giddings received intelligence on the 21st of Colonel Benavides' situation, and moved promptly to his assistance with 50 men, with the expectation of reaching him by the evening of the 23rd.
I informed Colonel Showalter by express immediately of the presence of the enemy at Laredo, and he is now in rapid march to join Colonel Ford, who, I sincerely trust, is by this time in the enemy's rear. I am in receipt by express of a private communication from Laredo, informing me that Colonel Benavides is very ill. Colonel Benavides also states that he is without medical attention, and requests that a surgeon be sent to his command, Dr. Camp being too
*See Part I, p.648.