is a cruel political exigency that with this fact patent to all the world - I am compelled to attempt the defense of an indefensible position with almost the certainty of a disastrous result whenever the enemy choose to make an attack. The topographical peculiarities of the island and harbor are such that it is almost certain that the enemy would make his land attack upon the left of our long line of intrenchments while his navy would attempt to force a passage into the harbor. To prevent the latter the greater portion of General Hawes' command would be necessarily at the extreme left of our position, viz, Fort Point, Pelican Spit, and Bolivar Point, leaving but a handful of men, not exceeding 800 or 1,000 to defend a line of intrenchements of two or three miles in length. It is reasonable to presume that incase of attack the enemy would have at his disposal a force quite competent to overcome the feeble resistance that we could make with this small force, and to capture the railroad bridge, our only connection with the mainland, in which case the loss of the whole garrison would be certain. The withdrawal of so large a number of guns from the defenses of Galveston to be sent to Louisiana, I fear, has rendered the fact of an attack almost the certainty of a disaster. My failure to reply to your letter sooner was occasioned by my absence at Galveston, from which place I have just returned. While there, and before receiving your communication, I ordered the following changes in the batteries: The 5.30 rifle left at South Battery to remain there to guard the swash channel; two of the columbiads from Fort Magruder to be removed to Virginia Point, two to Fort Point, and one to a new battery to be erected at once upon the spit running out to within 200 yards of the obstructions. I have ordered a temporary work of sand-bags to be thrown up with the greatest dispatch to receive, in addition to the columbiad from Fort Magruder, all the guns from Fort Bankhead, which although not of sufficiently long range to be of any service where they were will from their new position be effective in protecting the obstructions which are close at hand. I think this disposition of the guns gives the best hope of repelling the enemy should he be impudent enough to make the attack by water only.
During the period of active operations in Louisiana, Arkansas, and the cis-Mississippi country I felt no apprehension of an attack on the coast of Texas, but now that the season of impracticable roads and low water condemns the enemy's forces to a state of inactivity, it is almost certain that a large force will be sent to operate in Texas during this winter. There are several reasons apart from the political ones, which would point to this as a wise military policy. By it they would hope to effectually breakup blockade running and the Rio Grande trade, and thus close all the doors of our foreign intercourse. They would promise themselves heavy re-enforcements of conscripts from our negro population, the destruction of our system of agricultural labor, that has rendered Texas since the war began the granary of the Trans-Mississippi Department. It is not probable that the invasion would be more than a gigantic raid, but even this would be most disastrous. The state of weakness in which this district has been left by the withdrawal of Texas troops for the defense of Arkansas and Louisiana, and the imminence of the danger, I trust will induce you to take seriously into consideration the propriety of sending back some of the Texas regiments for the defenses of their homes. Assuming that offensive operations on our part are out of the question until spring, and on the part of the enemy are highly improbable, if not impossible, except upon the coast of Texas, I cannot but hope you will agree with me