commanding general, dated the 1st instant, as to what it is to be done by men in case I am threatened by either a small or large force of the enemy, have my careful attention. To guard against surprise I shall push the force named in the inclosed Special Order, No. 26, down to Fort Quitman. From Captain Shirland's acquaintance with that locality I am induced to order him down there to locate this outpost and to assist the company commander to become acquainted with the surrounding country. A copy of my instructions to Captain Shirland will be forwarded to department headquarters. Upon completing this duty he will rejoin his company. I wish to put a picket at the Waco Tanks also, but an examination of the tanks yesterday showed that the water failed there. The weather has the appearance of soon obviating this objection. Otherwise I shall resort to the first watering-lace beyond.
My force is now as follows: At las Cruces, Company A, First, and I, Fifth Infantry, C (dismounted), First Cavalry, California Volunteers. At Franklin, Companies H, C, and G, First Infantry, California Volunteers, and Company G, First New Mexico Volunteers. This will be increased by the arrival at Las Cruces on the 10th instant of Company E, Fifth Infantry, California Volunteers, and F, of the same regiment, should reach that post by the 20th instant; in all nine companies. One other company of the Fifth Infantry, H, now relieving F at Apache Pass and in its turn to be relieved, remains to come forward. Companies D, I, and K, of that regiment, will form the infantry force from the Territory of Arizona, designated in the letter of the general commanding of the 9th April.
I feel quite encouraged at my increasing strength, and hope to avoid ever being compelled to yield one foot of this Territory. The instructions about the command at Fort West falling back by Anderson's route on Fort Craig wil involve, as you have by this time learned, the destruction of all property that cannot be carried by pack-mules. Cook's Springs and San Diego Crossing is, as far as we are informed, the most direct wagon road now available. I have sent a trusty Mexican to Presidio del Norte to ascertain what supplies are being taken from Chihuahua to Texas. It is too soon yet to hear from the scouts sent out by Colonel McMullen, but a messenger from Mr. Creel, at Chihuahua, should have arrived again by this time.
Rumors continue rife. As a specimen, I send inclosed a copy of a letter to me from a friend of the cause at Mesilla. The actions and the sayings of the now few, but influential, secessionists in El Paso are quite a study. My facilities for watching them close are good, and I shall embody in another letter the conclusions that I have formed, from innumerable straws indicating the current, of the probabilities of the enemy's advancing in force later in the season.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. R. WEST,
HART'S MILL, TEX., May 8, 1863.
Captain JOHN C. McFERRAN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Santa Fe:
CAPTAIN: Observation of the actions and sayings of a few prominent and influential secessionists in El Paso, men who have something
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