Wednesday, May 21, 2014

April 5, 1864 (Saturday): Magruder Holds Texas

Texas Governor Pendleton Murrah

HOUSTON, April 5, 1864.
His Excellency Governor MURRAH:
    Dispatches just received from Shreveport state that Steele's forces had advanced on the 4th instant to Little Missouri River, about half way between Arkadelphia and Washington, and only about 60 miles from the Texas border, Bowie County. The enemy continues to advance up Red River Valley, and had reached Pleasant Hill on the march from Natchitoches to Mansfield. With this state of things before me I can but urge Your Excellency to remove all obstacles in the way of organizing forces under the act of Congress by accepting the proposition made in my communication of 2nd instant. I would state to Your Excellency that I have been informed by those connected with Brigadier-General McAdoo's command that the State troops assembled in camp desire to organize under the new act of Congress. I have assured such parties as have waited on me in reference to the same that until I had heard from Your Excellency I would take no steps toward organizing troops under this law.
Our forces in Arkansas under Marmaduke and those in the Red River Valley are skirmishing daily with the enemy and endeavoring to dispute his advance, but I fear that he will be able to turn Shreveport and enter Texas. I again appeal to Your Excellency to throw all your influence in favor of a vigorous execution of the new companies now forming [belong to] the State troops, and much prefer that the conscripts between eighteen and forty-five be transferred at once from the State troops to existing organizations, giving them thirty days to select the same. If Your Excellency agree with me I respectfully request that you issue a proclamation calling upon all those between seventeen and eighteen and forty-five and fifty to organize in accordance with orders to be issued from district headquarters, and all between eighteen and forty-five to join existing organizations, as they may be permitted to volunteer in by orders also from district headquarters, it being decided by Your Excellency and myself that the conscript law shall at once be vigorously enforced. Please state also that those who desire to enter cavalry must come well mounted and armed with a good double-barrel shotgun. The points of rendezvous for the troops will be designated in my orders. I hope the above will meet with your approbation. In any case I consider the co-operation of Your Excellency as absolutely vital.

     J. B. MAGRUDER,
     Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 334, Part 3, Page 735.

Magruder had gone from prominence in the Seven Days campaign to obscurity as the commander of the Department of Texas.  Now, with Banks on the march he was preparing to throw his troops up against the advance.  A problem he faced was the presence of so many state troops who were not directly under his command.  Here he appeals to Governor Murrah of Texas for assistance.


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