Major [George A.] Magruder, jr., of the general's staff, and Captain Winston, was enabled, with the cordial assistance of the citizens, to get the two heavy guns into a favorable position, and something like order and organization among the men. Couriers were immediately sent to recall the three companies of cavalry encamped on Palo Alto Prairie, and the night passed off with every available man I could arm standing in line of battle. By 12 o'clock to-day I became satisfied that my enemy was Vidal's company alone, increased by a few rancheros from either side, and by this time the excitement has quieted down, although the citizens are all on duty to-night.
I regret to say that, as far as heard from, the following are the victims of this infamous young traitor: Dashiell, a gallant young soldier, the son of the respected and accomplished adjutant-general of the State of Texas; Captain King, who for many years lived at Galveston, and was incarcerated for months during this war at Fort Lafayette; Mr. Barthelow, former sheriff of Cameron County and a member of Captain Cummings' company; Mr. Cruz, a trustworthy friend of his country, much esteemed, and Litteral, wounded.
I promptly notified Governor Ruiz, of Tamaulipas, of this occurrence, and herewith inclose his reply, which I am sure will give pleasure to the general, as evincing prompt and cordial efforts to render us assistance. I am happy to state that Colonel Cortinas has up to this time captured 22 of Vidal's party, who had crossed the river, and has them prisoners.
I am confident that it was Vidal's determination to attack and plunder Brownsville, and I also believe that there existed a plan to aid the movement with the renegades and disaffected on both sides of the river, and that the plan was frustrated by the impetuosity of Vidal, who mistook by one day the departure of Duff's command. That it was settled to take advantage of the weak garrison and slaughter it, I have no doubt.
Under all these circumstances, I have taken the responsibility of retaining the companies of the Thirty-third ordered to the interior, and shall keep them here until I hear from the general commanding.
The fact that the warehouses are filled with valuable supplies for the army, awaiting transportation (all of which is used as fast as it comes); that the valuable trade in cotton would cease in a short time from the danger of its transportation on the adjacent roads, connected with the many elements of danger from the traitors in Matamoras and the disaffected on this side of the river, satisfies me that when the troops are removed the trade should also be removed, and that the commanding general can form no idea of the critical condition of things here. Owing to these causes, I have taken this responsibility with every confidence that I have done right.
I really had but 19 soldiers last night when my pickets were run in, and yet millions of property, invaluable to the soldiers of our army, and the plunder of the city was the stake for which Vidal played.
I am sustained in my action by the opinion of General Slaughter and the officers who have lately arrived from the interior, and trust it may meet the approval of the commanding general.
Prompt measures are being taken to follow Vidal, and crush this movement before it becomes an organization, and I hope to do it.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army Confederate States.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, District of Texas, &c.
29 R-VOL XXVI, PT I