On the Resaca, three companies of Rangers.
Fort Inge, 25 men.
Fort McIntosh, one company.
Fort Ringgold, two companies (Buquor's, Arbuckle's, and Kampmann's); battery (Maclin's) of artillery.
Fort Duncan, one company of cavalry-Doneldson's. Powder Horn, two to three companies.
Corpus Christi, one company artillery (Willke's battery) and part of Yager's battalion of cavalry.
Fort Clark, two companies.
Further in this direction he is not aware of any troops, and heard nothing of such being nearer.
At Galveston there was a considerable force under General Herbert, he says; and, further, that it was reported that General Magruder had arrived at Galveston.
A contraband who escaped from Fort Brown last July corroborated the above in many particulars. This negro was slave to Dr. Ganahl, the surgeon at Fort Brown, and he states that deserters were very numerous from that place, a whole company having left at once; that three or four companies deserted during the last few months. Most of them were sent to New York by Mr. Pierce, American consul at Matamoras.
This negro represents the officers as very dissipated and demoralized and in great anxiety about an attack from Federal forces ascending the river, and that the most of the troops are Mexicans (native Texans); that the inhabitants of Brownsville are looked upon by the garrison as Unionists. I shall bring the negro and Hoffman to you, in order that you may interrogate them on these subjects. Lieutenant Baldwin (First Cavalry, California Volunteers) knows some of Hoffman's relatives in Rochester as very respectable people, and I believe his statement and those of the negro are worthy of credence.
I delayed a few days in Chihuahua for further news from the Rio Grande, at I hoped some of the merchants would hear from their correspondents at Matamoras and Monterey about matters of moment, as the week I arrived a gentleman received a note from a respectable correspondent, stating that several Federal officers were then (December 22) in Matamoras, making arrangements about supplies for a Federal force expected, and further states that there were 7,000 Federal troops at the Brazos Santiago.
The last mail brought no news on this subject.
In regard to supplies and resources of Chihuahua and Durango for a military force moving on Texas from this quarter, and whether avenues and means of transportation are available to this end, I fear that we cannot rely with much certainty upon either.
The prohibition of exportation of breadstuffs, &c., from Coahuila and Nuevo Leon arises from the scarcity of those articles, as before stated, on account of the great demand for them in Texas.
In Durango we can expect nothing; it is too poor and distant. In Chihuahua there are about four ranchers, who own each about 2,000 head of steers and bullocks. Two of those, Don Luis Terrazas and Don Pedro Zuloago, will sell their cattle for $20 a head on the ranches, near Chihuahua. The same parties own about 50,000 sheep, which they ask $2 to $2.50 each for. The weather has been unfavorably dry for crops for the last three seasons, and cereals are scarcer and dearer than usual in consequence in the southern part of the State. In the city of Chihuahua flour, unbolted, costs now $12 per cargo-usual price, &7; beans,