note to each of the consuls previous to my leaving. I have every confidence he will spare no effort to obtain and forward reliable information. He has lived about sixteen years in Chihuahua, is highly respected by all, and will ascertain from other residents such intelligence as they may receive every mail in their private correspondence on the subject in question. I respectfully recommend that he be paid a salary such as the commanding general may deem equitable. He asked for none and will serve his country cheerfully gratis, but he had been unfortunate in business, and has a large family to support, and "the laborer is worthy of his hire."
Some responsible German gentlemen, who sympathize with our cause, and other persons of distinguished position have promised and will aid Mr. Creel in gaining intelligence. These gentlemen receive correspondence from Monterey and Matamoras every mail, and the condition of Texas affairs are pretty well known at these points, for fugitives arrive there almost daily from Texas. The States of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon, particularly the latter, have large numbers of Union families, who escaped, residing in them. In conversation with people from Presidio del Norte who have been over to Texas, to the Limpias, Fort Davis, Puerco, and to a salt lake recently discovered about two days' travel from the Puerco above the El Paso and between the Missouri and San Antonio road, I was assured that no force of the enemy was in that neighborhood or suspected to be.
A Mexican (Lieutenant Santiago Ramirez), of Del Norte, offered to advise Mr. Charles Moye of any Texas troops coming this way. Ramirez is a very respectable man, and will act as guide to our troops, if required, as he knows all the trails, &c., in that section of the country.
During my stay in Chihuahua a Texan deserter arrived there, whom I brought with me. He was forced into the service as a conscript. He says he was born in Rochester, New York, his name, James Hoffman; further, that he was placed on extra duty in the quartermaster's department under Captain Merritt, chief quartermaster of the Department of Texas, at San Antonio; that being sent as express messenger to Fort Duncan, Eagle Pass, with letters for Captain Donelson, commanding officer, he escaped to Mexico. He left San Antonio on the 23rd December, and escaped on the 28th.
He states that General Baylor was then in San Antonio, and had 5,000 or 6,000 troops (the only troops there) in an around San Antonio; that it was said he had orders to march upon New Mexico, but that he heard from Captain Donelson, at Fort Duncan, that Baylor's order had subsequently been countermanded, and that he was ordered to march to the Gulf (Corpus Christi, Hoffman thinks) with his command. He represents subsistence as very scarce and dear at San Antonio: flour 25 cents per pound; corn $5 to $6 per bushel; coffee $3 to $4 per pound; beef abundant at 5 cents per pound; domestics $1 to $1.50 per yard: pegged boots $20 per pair, and extremely scarce.
He states that mostly all subsistence for Texas troops has been drawn last year from Mexico; this is so, as is well known in Chihuahua, and to such an extent had New Leon and Coahuila been drained, that Governor Vidaurri had prohibited, under severe penalties, the exportation of any more breadstuffs, &c., from those States. The export of shoes even is prohibited. Hoffman gives the following as the forts in Texas which he knows are garrisoned, viz:
San Antonio and vicinity, Baylor's command of 5,000 to 6,000 principally encamped on the Salado. Fort Brown, three companies Third Texas Infantry and two batteries of artillery.