where they were paroled. The cargo, which floated ashore, was saved and guarded by my troops, and by my orders was brought here in Government wagons, and proved to be of considerable value, consisting of some 400 barrels of flour, clothing, &c. No owner appeared. The consignee in matamoras abandoned all claim upon the vessel and cargo, and all shippers loyal to the Confederate States were insured through their friends.
After a considerable portion of the cargo had arrived the Confederate States received procured an injunction from the Confederate States court now in session at Brownsville, and claimed possession of all the property. I immediately consulted with the Hon. Thomas J. Divine, judge of said court, and in deference to his position as a lawyer and a true and loyal citizen I yielded to the mandate, and the property was turned over to the receiver. In yielding my own opinion to that of the honorable judge I did not yield my convictions. I contend that, the vessel being an enemy's under the enemy's flag, her cargo was a prize to my soldiers, who save it of course of the benefit of the Government. There was no receiver, no marshal on the beach to claim or save the property, and if my troops had not saved it none of it would have been saved. The property saved was in the possession of a Confederate States quartermaster duty bonded,and was surely as safe as if in the hands of the Confederate States receiver; yet the question of fees controlled the matter and was the cause of the loss of a considerable amount.
I have ordered that the proceedings be transmitted to you, that the general commanding may decide the case for my future action and guidance or refer the matter to Richmond. The case in point is settled, because the honorable judge of the Confederate States district court is present; but wrecks may occur at any time. I do not regard his decision in this case a sufficient precedent, and in the absence of that functionary I may not appreciate the propriety of my actions being controlled by those officers of the civil branch of the Government whose sole object, in my opinion, is the collection of certain fees of office.
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, March 11, 1863.
Major A. G. DICKINSON,
A. A. G., Dist of Tex., N. Mex., and Ariz., Houston, Tex.:
SIR: The Federal steamer Honduras arrived off the mouth of the Rio Grande on the 6th instant, but was unable to communicate with the shore until yesterday, when Col. J. E. Davis and five others landed on the Mexican side and proceeded to Matamoras. The objects of this arrival have not transpired, but rumor says (on the authority of Colonel Davis) that other vessels will soon follow. The Hunduras is a transport, armed with two rifled guns, 24-pounders, and has aboard 180 men and eight field pieces,m with their caissons, but no horses. The men are well armed. She is provided with four surf-boats capable of transporting 40 men each. She is evidently uneasy, and anchors for the night amongst the fleet in Mexican waters. I have detachments of efficient men at the mouth of the river and at Point Isabel. I do not anticipate