HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Brownsville, Tex., December 10, 1863.
His Excellency Don JESUS SERNA,
Governor of Tamaulipas.
I was informed the day before yesterday that the British schooner Nancy Dawson, with an assorted cargo of military supplies, including 10,000 muskets, had anchored off the mouth of the Rio Grande, and that she was consigned to the firm of Hale & Co., who are doing business in Matamoras. I have reason to know that these supplies are for the use of the enemies of the United States-the rebels and traitors who have for two years held high carnival in the State of Texas. For this reason I sent a dispatch yesterday, requesting any naval vessel near Brazos Santiago, or the mouth of the river, to seize the Nancy Dawson as a prize. I am now informed that the arms from the Nancy Dawson have been landed in Mexico, and are on the way to Matamoras. Confidently relying on your feelings of friendship for my Government, and on the intimate relations which are existing between our two nations, and in the knowledge that Your Excellency is fully informed of the barbarities and enormities which have been and are being committed on loyal citizens and their families by the atrocious villains who are waiting for the safe delivery of these arms and other military supplies, I request that they may be immediately seized and turned over to me, unless Your Excellency has reasons, after seizing them, to retain them as forfeited by their owners for your own use.
Protesting to Your Excellency the sincerity of my good feeling and my distinguished consideration, I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant,
N. J. T. DANA,
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 11, 1863.
Major-General BANKS, Commanding Department of the Gulf:
GENERAL: I inclose herewith a copy of memorandum from the Navy Department to the Secretary of War in regard to guns left at Port Hudson.*
In my dispatch to you of August 24, it was directed that the fortifications at New Orleans should be supplied by removing to that place the heavy ordnance at Port Hudson and Vicksburg. It appears from Admiral Porter's dispatch that this has not been done, and that there is danger of the water batteries at Port Hudson falling into the hands of the enemy. Major-General Reynolds has been directed, in your absence, to remove these water batteries to New Orleans. As we control the waters of the Mississippi River, we require only land batteries on its banks between New Orleans and Memphis, especially in places which are liable to fall into rebel hands.
General Steele report that Price, with a portion of the Texas troops is moving toward Little Rock. If your forces are operating up the Atchafalaya, as stated in your last dispatch, they will be likely to check Price's advance. If your forces operate together on the line proposed, you will be strong enough to resist anything the enemy can bring against you, but the division of your army and the occupation of so many points in Western Texas cause serious apprehensions that the enemy may concentrate and overwhelm some one of your isolated detachments.