War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0842 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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December 11, 1863-11 a. m.

Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE,

Chief of Staff:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the dispatch of the major-general commanding, dated 3rd instant, and to report that nothing of great interest has occurred here since my last dispatch. I think proper to mention my conviction that this country being purely under martial law, I have supreme command, but I understand that General Hamilton will organize a court of some kind here, and I have heard one of his staff officers say this morning that citizen here, whom I have been pursuing for evidence against him, would be punished by General Hamilton, in case he should get the same evidence against him, by a fine or otherwise, &c. I have also discovered in two or three instances that matters which I have been occupied with were at the same time engaging the same attention from him, as, for instance, the procurement by demand from the Mexican authorities of the 2 men who stole the country records from here, also the records which are supposed now to be in Matamoras-a matter upon which my provost-marshal has been engaged, under my orders, in getting such testimony as will enable me to make a demand. I understood only by hearsay to-day that General Hamilton has made a demand on Governor Serna for the men, which may, I fear, lose the records.

I mention these things merely to show the commanding general the danger of a clash of authority. I shall not hesitate to act promptly according to my convictions of duty, but I would like to have the general's views and instructions. It is my opinion that General Hamilton can only act here under my authority, and if he should, in interfering in matters with which I, as commander here, am occupied, by any means gather any piece of public information or evidence which would be of use to the public service, and which has not come to my knowledge, he should promptly furnish it to me, with his views and opinions, if necessary, so that I may execute the duties of commanding general here, in a country wholly under martial law, advisedly. Day before yesterday, having heard that a British schooner had anchored at the mouth of the river with 10,000 stand of arms for the rebels, consigned to Hale & Co., of Matamoras, I immediately sent a dispatch to whatever naval officer might be near, that the vessel might be seized; but the arms were landed on the Mexican side before the matter was accomplished. I then made a demand of Governor Serna that the supplies should be seized and turned over to me, or kept by himself, with the certainty of never reaching their rebel owners.

I have received a satisfactory reply from the Governor, informing me that the seizure had been made and the property confiscated, and would be used by his Government, and he gives me the assurance that the rebels or our enemies shall not receive any part of it.

I discovered, after acting in this matter, that it also had engaged the attention of General Hamilton.

I send a Matamoras paper to the general to-day, which gives an account of a reception given General H[amilton] on Sunday last, wherein he is reported to have promised the aid of himself and his force to the Mexican Government against the French.

My position here is being made strong by the new fortifications, and I have at present no detachment our except the Thirty-seventh Illinois Infantry, which went up the river on the Mustang when Colonel Davis