December 1, 1863.
L. PIERCE, Jr.,
United States Consul, Matamoras:
I have nothing news as yet from General Banks, though I hope, now that we have a calm at last, that I shall receive some dispatches.
The fiction of our occupying Indianola was, like that of our landing at Corpus [Christi] and marching to Saint Patricio, probably founded on fact. Our forces in considerable strength, under Major-General Washburn and Brigadier-General Ransom, marched on the 21st from Aransas up the beach of Saint Joseph's Island to force a capitulation of the forts of Saluria and Pass Cavallo. I presume this was consummated on the 26th or 27th, and that is probably the foundation of the rumor of our occupying Indianola. Matters will soon come to a focus in that direction.
Davis advises me that Benavides escaped across the river to Reynolds with some 20 men. Now, is he a Mexican or a Texan? The authorities on your side must choose one position or the other. I am not disposed to play hide and seek with such cur-throats as he is. If he is a Texan, I shall demand him, as a renegade, for punishment. If he is a Mexican, it must be looked to that he answers properly to the Mexican authorities for his outrages against our laws. I have full confidence that our friends of the Mexican nation will not object to helping us in this matter as much as we have a right to demand, or else will not complain or feel unfriendly if we are compelled to help ourselves.
Can you, without inconvenience, send me a copy of our treaty with Mexico embracing the extradition clauses?
I have the honor to remain, most respectfully,
N. J. T. DANA,
Brownsville, December 2, 1863.
Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE,
Chief of Staff, New Orleans:
Colonel Davis returned with his cavalry and artillery last night. The infantry on the steamboat Mustang has not yet returned. The command went to Rio Grande City, and a small detachment was sent to Roma. No enemy whatever was encountered, and none could be heard of except the small force of Benavides, which had left Rio Grande City about a week before Davis' arrival. The country in the vicinity of Camargo is even more bare of supplies than that in this vicinity. What little corn was procured there was double the price it is here. Some 2,500 bales of cotton had been crossed over the river within the last two weeks, but that trade is about stopped now this side of the Laredo. About 80 bales were sent down by Davis. My accumulation now is about 800 bales. I must order some of it to be sold, to settle the freight due on it and to compensate the worthy men, according to the instructions of the commanding general.
The command here and at Point Isabel and Brazos will be out of rations and forage in three days, owing to the loads of subsistence stores having been carried back from Brazos. I shall be compelled to purchase supplies at Matamoras, should none arrive in that time. That can readily be done.
Vidal's command has been mustered in, armed, and equipped to the