The trip up the river was devoid of incident, except that we found a very low stage of water, and were obliged to haul over several bad bars; the course of the river is extremely tortuous also, and these things in conjunction rendered it impossible to keep up with the land forces.
On the 26th day of November, I informed Colonel Davis, by express, that it was nearly impossible to proceed in anything like reasonable time, and that the steamer lay at the foot of a long reach or bar only 18 inches deep and 6 feet in length. He sent back word for me to await the arrival of the infantry and captured cotton where I wa. The infantry reached us on the 28th, in company with the cavalry, which passed on. I awaited the arrival of the cotton impatiently for two days, and then sent out a detachment under Lieutenant Day, of Company E, to look for it. He found that part of the train had only come 8 miles from where it started. By dint of much exertion, he succeeded in reaching the boat with the cotton, 82 bales in all, about noon of the 1st of December, and the next morning at dawn he started on the return trip.
We have been so long in coming owing to the wretchedly poor stage of water. We have been aground every day, sometimes making but 10 miles in twenty-four hours, although every effort was made to hasten on.
My eight days' rations being exhausted while lying to for the cotton, I visited the town of Old Reynosa, on the Mexican side, to endeavor to obtain a fresh supply. In this I was unsuccessful, as there was no supply on hand.
I found the forces of the National Guard mustering to the number of some 200 men, under Don Florentino, the commanding of the post. This officer offered every courtesy possible to myself and officers during our visit. He complained to me that one John Travinio, a resident of the town of Edinburg, on the American side, had recently crossed over with a gang of some 15 armed men, committed depredations on the Mexican side, and then returned to Edinburg, and expressed a desire to concert some measure with the Federal commander to prevent the recurrence of a like offense. I determined to arrest Travinio, and did so on the 2nd of December, since when he has been a prisoner in my hands. He is of a wealthy and influential family, a man of considerable attainments himself, and very much of a gentleman. I desire to submit his case to the proper authorities.
At Edinburg, I found a few days' rations awaiting my arrival, but have been very short all the way down, on half rations of bread-stuff, all except two days. I have hence been obliged to draw largely on the country for beef.
The officers of the steamer Mustang have afforded all possible comforts during the voyage. I desire to call the attention of the general to them as capable and accommodating gentlemen in their line of business.
There have been no casualties or losses sustained during the expedition. The health of the regiment continues good. The distance traveled by the regiment on water has been 360 miles; distance on land, 150 miles. Total distance, 510 miles.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
[JOHN] CHAS. BLACK,
Colonel Thirty-seventh Illinois, Commanding.
Major WILLIAM HYDE CLARK,
Asst. Adjt. General, Second Division, Thirteenth Army Corps.