HEADQUARTERS WESTERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Fort Brown, February 10, 1863.
Major A. G. DICKINSON,
Asst. Adjt. General, of Tex., N. Mex., and Ariz., Houston, Tex.:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose, for the information of the general commanding, and extract from a private letter just received from the city of Mexico. The writer, Mr. Olivier, is a merchant of Monterey, and has been doing a large business with Texas.
I am satisfied that Governor Vidaurri, of Nuevo Leon, will not respect such a decree as the one intimated in the letter of Mr. Olivier, but it is highly probable that Governor Albino Lopez, of Tamaulipas, will do, so and in that contingency I shall feel justified in taking possession of the city of Matamoras if my force is sufficient, and holding it until the goods which are now there destine for Texas have been passed over the Rio Grande. I do not pretend that I have any other right to do this than that which my power to do it may give me, nor perhaps could it be justified by andy other plea than that of necessity.
The occasion is appropriate to again allude to the valued to our Government of this trade throngs Matamoras, and to suggest all the authority of the commanding general, may be put forth to avail ourselves of its benefits. Every wagon in Texas ought to be loaded with cotton by the 1st of April for Government account and forwarded to this place. The season for discharging vessels off the bar with facility is very short-say six month at the most; it requires two months for ox wagons to make the trip, and it will necessarily be midsummer before much cotton can be got here, and every possible energy should be put forth at once.
I am fully impressed with the fact that our time for availing our selves of this trade will be short. In view of the heavy stocks of army goods now in store and the number of vessels off the bar (over sixty in number), loaded principally for Texas, I cannot but think that our enemy will very soon attempt to deprive us of it. It is notorious that this port did not require more than a dozen vessels in a year to do its trade before the war; and the enemy are as well aware of the fact that these cargoes are intended for us as we are ourselves and hence they will attempt to stop it, and the necessity of getting all or as much as we can is apparent.
The force under my command, it need not be disguised, is too small to impede a determined effort to take Fort Brown, and I presume they will send a large if they send any.
I have addressed a communication to Governor Lopez concerning the relations of this frontier, but have no reply as yet. I will forward copies when received.
I have not received a letter or paper from Texas since the 16th of January, notwithstanding my order to Major Minter, chief quartermaster, to establish a regular express every four days, and I would respectfully call the attention of the general commanding to the imperative necessity of a regular, speedily, and certain means of communication with headquarters. The mails are wholly unreliable.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.