War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0566 OPERATIONS IN TEX., N. MEX., AND ARIZ. Chapter XXI.

Search Civil War Official Records

ing him all the elements going to make up the column, the object of its march, and the wishes of General Wright. A copy of that letter is herewith inclosed, marked A. *

Having been informed that a large number of men, women, and children were in a destitute and starving condition at Pino Alto mines. 40-odd miles northeastward from the Ojo de la Vaca, I directed Colonel West to furnish them with some subsistence stores as a gratuity. (See letter of instructions to Colonel West, marked B, and Captain Shirland's report on the starving condition of these people, marked C.)

I arrived on the Rio Grande on August 7 at a point 3 miles above Fort Thorn, and immediately communicated with General Canby by letter, marked D.

On August 9 I passed the Rio Grande at the San Diego Crossing, 18 miles below Fort Thorn. The river was still very high and very rapid, but the men stripped off their clothes and dragged the wagons through by main force; the baggage, subsistence stores; ammunition, &c., were crossed in two small, leaky boats. At this point we built a larger and better boat for the use of the detachments of the column still to come up.

The head of the column arrived at Las Cruces on August 10. Here I found the advance guard, under Lieutenant-Colonel Eyre, First California Volunteer Cavalry, strengthened by four companies of the Fifth U. S. Infantry, which had been sent down from Fort Craig. Two companies of regular cavalry had also been sent down to re-enforce Colonel Eyre; but these had been recalled and had started back to Fort Craig on August 9.

Unfortunately Colonel Eyre had been forbidden by Colonel Chivington and Colonel Howe to proceed in the direction by Texas below Las Cruces; otherwise I believe he would have captured the whole of Steele's force of Confederate troops. (See his report + on this subject, marked E.) The energy, enterprise, and resources of Colonel Eyre, as exhibited in his rapid march from Tucson to the Rio Grande; his crossing of that rive, and his unlooked-for presence directly upon the heels of the retreating rebels, cannot be too highly appreciated. He exhibited some of the fines qualities of soldier, and had he not been fettered by order from higher authority than himself, he would, without a doubt, have achieved advantages over the enemy creditable to himself and to the Column from California. But for his timely arrival on the Rio Grande, Las Cruses and Mesilla would have both been laid in ashes by the enemy. Hampered as he was by orders, he nevertheless managed to hoist the Stars and Stripes upon Fort Thorn, Fort Fillmore, Mesilla, and Fort Bliss, in Texas.

On August 11 General Canby wrote me a very handsome letter, in which he liberally offered to furnish the column with all the supplies it might need, together with $30,000 subsistence funds. General Wright will be gratified to read it; it is marked F. It will be seen by that letter that the medical supplies and ordnance stores in the Department of New Mexico are so abundant as to preclude the necessity of any more of these stores being purchased or shipped in the Department of New Mexico are so abundant as to preclude the necessity of any more of these stores purchased of shipped in the Department of the Pacific for any of the troops east of Fort Yuma belonging to the Column from California.

On August 11 General Canby sent to me another communication, in which he treats of the impracticability of an invasion of Texas from

---------------

* See Carleton's report to Canby of August 2, p. 557.

+ Numbers 2, dated August 30, 1862, p. 585.

---------------