I recommended that Saluria be occupied by the rifle section of Hughes' battery, and defended by the 30-pounder Parrott, 18-pounder gun, and another gun, which latter three guns belong to the flotilla in Matagorda Bay; that fifty picked men be sent from the company of 100 conscripts, now at Camp Lubbock, to Hughes' battery; that as many companies of the reserve corps from the Northern Sub-District, not including those ordered to Tyler, may be called out as may be deemed necessary to preserve order; that all the reserve corps in the rest of the State be organized into regiments and battalions and called out at once, and ordered to the coast to relieve as many of the forces of the Provisional Army serving on the coast as can safely be done; that the details from the reserve corps for agricultural purposes, not to exceed one-third of the company, be made in the manner prescribed in General Orders, Numbers 1, from headquarters Bureau of State Troops for the District of Texas; that an officer of experience should be placed in command at Saluria; that in the meantime Lieutenant Colonel O. Steele, of Waul's Legion, now at Victoria, with his command be ordered to take post at Saluria, and Captain Hughes be ordered to take charge of all the artillery at the post of Saluria, subject, of course, to the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Steele; that Lieutenant Colonel D. Showalter's regiment be withdrawn forthwith from Brownsville and ordered to Columbus, to be used by Major-General Walker, if required by him in Texas, otherwise to be ordered to the front.
Whilst on the subject of Texas I deem it my [duty] to state, for the information of the general commanding the department, that I regard it as if the greatest importance that the works at Galveston and Virginia Point should be completed, and that Houston should be fortified with the least possible delay. If the enemy cannot take Galveston he will be compelled to land at some point on the coast at a great distance from Houston, and as that point will be his base, his line of communication can be easily cut whilst he is attempting to carry Houston, the center of the railroads, thus strongly fortified. We have [had] few or no negroes for the last few months. No more troops than those indicated above can possibly be spared from Texas, and they should be rapidly returned to that district should the coast be threatened by a large land force, of which there appears, at present, no danger whatever, Certain rapid communication with New Orleans should give information of a sea expedition in ample time to provide for this. General Wharton should have 5,000 men to operate between Little Rock and Pine Bluff. Where the additional 1,000 cavalry can best be obtained is a question for the judgment of the commanding general of the department. To cross the Arkansas River a pontoon bridge is necessary, and to hold the point of crossing, and for other purposes, the siege train now supposed to be on its way to Alexandria could be used in Arkansas and could be returned to Red River when a rise of water may be reasonably expected.
I fear the commanding general may think that I am asking too much, but his knowledge, necessarily superior to my own, of the state of affairs in Louisiana and Arkansas will guide his decision upon the propositions contained in this communication. I should be pleased to receive written instructions as to what I am expected to do in Arkansas, and what assistance I am to lend to General Price in his expedition into Missouri.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding, &c.