If the enemy in this way get possession of the lower bay he will be in position to attack the city at pleasure by land or water. But in the mean time his own fleet will be exposed to surprise and attack by our naval force at Mobile, a force capable of acting in favorable weather and is smooth water. If the city be attacked by land it is believed that the defenses on that side will prove sufficient.
If the attack be made by water the enemy cannot with safety avail himself of any vessel drawing over 8 or 9 feet. For the defense of the channel, less than half a mile wide at Dog River Bar, we have the lower line of obstructions at that place, consisting of sunken hulks, piles, &c., and this can be covered by four iron-clad batteries, two of them with small steam-power. An earthen battery, mounting four heavy, guns, might also be made available if there were any prospect of obtaining guns for it.
If his outer line be passed the enemy will come immediately upon the second, consisting of eight rows of piles, covered at the distance of 400 or 500 yards by the batteries at Choctaw Point, Pinto Island, and Spanish River, together with four wooden gunboats, which may be placed in rear of the line.
The number of guns for the defense of the first line will probably be seventeen; among them two of 10-inch caliber, and at the second line thirty or more guns, including six of 10-inch in the fixed batteries. In a channel so narrow as this, and where the enemy is in danger of running aground, there will be little room to maneuver or to present a formidable front. It is not likely that any heavy iron-clad vessel can be brought to the attack.
If the enemy attempt to approach by the Apalachee or Blakely River 6 feet is the greatest depth to be carried in at high tide. If attacked there, the batteries at the fork of the two river could readily be re-enforced by gunboats from the city. An additional floating battery is understood to be well advanced toward completion. It is very important that eight or ten guns, 10-inch, should be added to the armament of the batteries. With this addition it is believed that the city could not be taken by any maritime force which can be brought against it.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General and Engineer.
HEADQUARTERS WESTERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Fort Brown, March 15, 1863.
Major A. G. DICKINSON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: The palpate violation of the neutrality of Mexico by the authorities of Matamoras in permitting soldiers to be enlisted openly in their streets for the service of the United States has at last culminate din an attack on the enemies of our country on the soil of Mexico.
I have previously informed you to the many desertions from my command here, and that they were openly enlisted, fed, and clothed by the American consul at Matamoras; also of the arrival of E. J. Davis, a Texas renegade, who was the proved originator of all the troubles on this frontier. It soon became apparent that Davis had come for his family and to carry the deserters and renegades to New Orleans. having also learned that the transport was armed, and with a considerable