I would then have but one regiment of infantry, with hardly a minimum number of men to a company, to defend my two light batteries of artillery and reaped the enemy.
I am more than ever impressed with the great importance of the trade of Matamoras to our Army and people, and think it is worth defending; but with less than 5,000 men it cannot, in my judgment, be done, While thus communicating my views I hope the commanding general will rest satisfied that, be my force large or small, I will to the best of my ability sustain the honor of my country and the unsullied reputation of the soldiers of Texas. I confess, however, that I do not covet the distinction of leading a retreat from a point which my Government thought of sufficient importance to be placed in charge of an officer of my rank, and with great respect I ask the general commanding to re-enforce me to the above-mentioned number of effective troops.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Fort Brown, February 3, 1863.
His Excellency DON ALBINO LOPEZ,
Governor of the State of Tamaulipas, Matamoras:
SIR: Specially charged by my Government with the maintenance of friendly relations with the Republic of Mexico and with the custody of the honor and dignity of the Confederate States in this portion of their jurisdiction, I feel much regret that my first communication to Your Excellency since my arrival on this frontier should embrace questions which, involving the peace and dignity of my Government, present matters of the gravest consideration, and in their discussion I beg to assure you that in the terms of adjustment which I may indicate I am actuated by motives of the highest respect and appreciation of the mutual advantages accruing from the most friendly and cordial relations and by due regard to the peculiar situation of the authorities of Mexico.
on the 26 th of December, 1862, an armed party of Mexican citizens crossed into Texas, attacked a train of Government wagons, murdered three of the teamsters, and after plundering the train of all its contents recrossed the Rio Grande and found shelter and protection on the soil of Mexico. On the same day another party crossed the river at Ro Clareno and murdered an estimable patriot and citizen, the chief justice of Zapata County, Don Isidro Vela. This party was followed across the river by Captain Refugio Benavides, of the Confederate Army, and punished as their crimes and atrocities merited. I have thus noticed two district instances of the violation of the neutrality of Mexico committed by her citizens. If these outrages had been committed by the disorderly population which has herefore notoriously existed on the frontier an excuse might he sought in the unsettled state of the country and that concomitant lawlessness which is incident to so demoralized a state of society, and might have been classed with the many other instances of irregularity which have occasionally and unfortunately marked the history of our respective nationalities; but these outrages present other and graver characteristics. They were committed by the (so-called) First Regiment of Union Troops, commanded