well know and popular among the people of Lower Florida, and will, no doubt, be useful in recruiting.
I would recommend him most highly to your favorable consideration.
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding East Gulf Blockading Squadron.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENS ARMY CORPS,
Brownsville, December 24, 1863.
Major General N. P. BANKS,
Commanding Department of the Gulf:
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your dispatch of the 17th, instant.
The newspapers you were so good as to send me have reached me, and were a great gratification. When those which you forward to the consuls arrive, I will take care to forward them.
The quarrel on the Mexican side is not yet settle, and many foolish plans have been laid by our filibuster friends on them to draw us into it. Their principal anxiety is to have our flag among them on any pretext. They went even so far as to concoct a plan to seize the consulate, supposing I would come over and retake it. Pierce got frightened and let me know it and I immediately notified Serna, through his advisers, that it was too delicate a matter to trifle with, and I would have no "understanding" whatever, but should act according to circumstances and the plan was given up. Notice was given me that Juarez was going to Durango, and my advice we asked. I strongly deprecated such a move, on the ground that it would be tantamount to a notice to the world that he had abandoned his cause and was about to fly. I urged his coming to Tamaulipas, as he would then have the Sierra Madre between him and the French, and his friends, at his back.
Nothing new from interior Texas. Vidal with his scouting party has returned. Captain Speed and his 60 men are still out. His orders were to go about 70 or 80 miles. I have heard to-night that he was at Las Animas Monday, and intended going to King's ranch. I hope it is not so, as I do not consider it safe for his strength. The mustang horses which we have bought are a very poor shift. The want of hay and grass, and the experiment to teach them to eat corn, are a bad combination of circumstances for them. General Hamilton has gone to Pass Cavallo for a few days, when he will return here.
I have the honor to remain, with much respect,
N. J. T. DANA,
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Brownsville, December 24, 1863-12 m.
Brigadier General CHARLES P. STONE,
Chief of Staff:
I hope it will not be considered officious if I advance my opinions, uncalled for, to the commanding general regarding the present arrangement of the troops on this frontier.
The movement to this point has had its full effect. It has entirely cut off the immense trade which has heretofore been carried on with the rebels by this route, and has occasioned them very serious losses, and