The following transcription is from a collection of letters written by Union and Confederate officers during the Civil War. Catahoula Bank in Harrisonburg and Jonesville provided a complimentary transcription of this collection in 1966.
Headquarters, Randal's Brigade
Sulphur Springs, La.
September 5, 1863, 9:40 A. M.
MAJOR E. SURGET
Assistant Adjutant General
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that the enemy near 5,000 strong met me yesterday morning at the break of day 12 miles this side of Fort Beauregard, there cutting off the possibility of a junction with the forces at the fort under Lieutenant-Colonel Logan. I drove in his pickets, and withdrew my command, having deceived the enemy. My retreat was followed up to the junction of the upper and lower Alexandria roads. I have heard of no farther advance on either road in the direction of Alexandria.
Lieutenant-Colonel Logan abandoned the fort between 2 and 3 o'clock yesterday morning, retiring by Centreville and Natchitoches road. He saved four pieces of artillery. He is now near Little River at Gilmore's Ferry, where he will cross today.
I retired by the Alexandria road for two reasons--to protect Colonel Logan, and to prevent a flank movement upon my rear. If it is designed that I should retire to Alexandria, I have rations; otherwise I will forward my trains. Colonel Logan will join me tomorrow. I will continue my march toward Alexandria, crossing the river today, unless otherwise ordered. I have sent out scouts to ascertain the position of the enemy on the roads leading from this place to the Washita (Ouachita) River. Three different persons have seen the enemy's camp near Trinity, and all report them 16,000 strong. I will learn everything I can, and have reports made without delay. I will make a full report as soon as I reach my desk and have time.
Respectfully, your obedient servant.
Colonel, Commanding Brigade
RANDAL, HORACE (1833–1864). Horace Randal, Confederate brigadier general, son of Sarah McNeil (Kyle) and Dr. John Leonard Randal, was born on January 1, 1833, in McNairy County, Tennessee. In 1839 the family moved to Texas and settled near San Augustine. In 1849 Horace Randal and James B. McIntyre became the first Texas appointees to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Randal spent five years at the academy because of a deficiency in mathematics and English and thus was the second Texas graduate from West Point. He graduated on July 1, 1854, and was brevetted second lieutenant in the Eighth United States Infantry. On March 3, 1855, he was transferred to Company G, First Dragoons, with the substantive rank of second lieutenant. He subsequently served continuously on frontier duty in Indian Territory, Arizona, New Mexico, and at Fort Bliss and Fort Davis in Texas. Randal resigned from the United States Army on February 27, 1861, went into the Confederate service, and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the cavalry on March 16, 1861. He first served in Gen. Braxton Bragg's quartermaster corps at Pensacola, Florida, and was later transferred to the Army of Northern Virginia; on November 16, 1861, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Gustavus W. Smith. He was commissioned a colonel of cavalry on February 12, 1862, and recruited the Twenty-eighth Texas Cavalry regiment (Dismounted) in and around Marshall. Randal recruited his father, brother, and brother-in-law as members of his regimental staff. On July 9, 1862, the regiment of twelve companies paraded through Marshall and left for Little Rock, Arkansas, to join what later became the Second Brigade of Gen. John G. Walker's Texas (Greyhound) Division. As a colonel, Randal was appointed brigade commander on September 3, 1862, and served in Arkansas and Louisiana. He led the brigade at Milliken's Bend during the Vicksburg campaign in June 1863, and in repulsing Maj. Gen.Nathaniel P. Banks's Red River campaign in the spring of 1864. He was appointed brigadier general by Gen. E. Kirby Smith on April 8, 1864, but his promotion was never confirmed by the Confederate government.
Biographical Information Source:
Tom Jones, "RANDAL, HORACE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fra28), accessed February 09, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.