War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0635 Chapter XXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

Memorandum of verbal instructions given to Major David Ferguson, First Cavalry, California Volunteers, under orders to visit the city of Chihuahua, Mex.

1st. To make, if practicable, an arrangement with persons connected with San Antonio, Tex., or residing at that point, to communicate intelligence of military movements on the part of the Texans. Communications, if sent through Mexican territory, to be addressed to the commander of the District of Arizona under cover to Dr. David R. Diffendorfer, El Paso, Mex. Proper compensations for service will be paid.

2nd. To ascertain the resources of Chihuahua and Durango with reference to military supplies for a force moving on Texas from this quarter, and whether avenues and means of transportation are available to that end.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


Mesilla, January 3, 1863.


First Cavalry, California Volunteers, Mesilla, N. Mex.;

It is the desire of the general commanding the Department of New Mexico that you should visit the capital of Chihuahua, as his representative, to confer with His Excellency the Governor of that State, with a view to the prevention of the abuses against the Government of the United States which have been committed by certain rebels who have taken refuge in Mexican territory.

Since the reoccupation of this part of New Mexico by United States troops in July last the fact is notorious that the town of El Paso, Mex., has been made the rendezvous of a gang of outlaws, claiming to be of the party now in rebellion against our Government who have been constant in their efforts to prejudice the Mexican population against our cause. It is not deemed necessary for the purposes sought to be attained by your mission to cite specific instances of the detriment that these men have worked against the United States Government. It is enough to state in general terms that they have been spies upon our acts, have sent secret agents within our lines to watch the movements of our troops, and have communicated, through Mexican territory, the intelligence so obtained to the enemy.

You will particularly call the attention of the Governor of Chihuahua to the fact that in the latter part of November last one Skillman (with others in the military service of the so-called Confederate States to the number of 15 persons, I am informed) crossed from Texas into Mexico; that these men were as fully armed as when acting in the field against our troops and that during their stay in Mexican territory they maintained a military organization; that this party remained, I am informed, at the village of Aquas Calientes several days, during which time Skillman visited El Paso, conferred with the parties residing there, and, without being in any manner noticed or hindered by the Mexican authorities, returned unmolested to his band; that Skillman and his band; that Skillman and his party then visited El Presidio del Norte, remained there several days, and made an effort to capture and convey into Texas certain American citizens temporarily sojourning in that town.