compelled them to direct their trade now to points high up the river, known as Eagle and Laredo, where they are crossing large quantities of supplies, the trade being mostly carried on with Monterey.
The distance from here to Laredo is 235 miles, and to Eagle Pass 345 miles. The country is almost barren of supplies and forage, and there is little, if any, grass. Our horses being in poor condition, owing to the scarcity of grass in this region, will not stand such long marches and be of any service at the end of them; whereas the animals of the enemy, coming from a good grazing country, are in good condition. The water in the Rio Grande is so low that it cannot be relied on for supplies with the means at our disposal. The Mustang, recently sent to Roma, 120 miles, could not reach there, but was occupied three weeks in incessant toil in arriving at a point 30 miles below there, and returning with only 180 men on board.
The distance from here to San Antonio is over 200 miles, and from that place to Eagle Pass only 150 miles; consequently, with the rebel facilities for obtaining information, they can always learn by courier on the Mexican side of any movement on our part. By sending a force to Eagle Pass sufficiently large to defend itself, it is possible it might be scantily subsisted from the State of Nuevo Leon, but it would be at very great expense, and subject to interruptions by the whims of the officials of a peculiarly revolutionary people.
In fact, looking as I do only to our front against rebeldom, the occupation, of the immense line of the frontier of the Rio Grande, so as effectually to stop communication between the rebels and Mexico, would require an expenditure of force and resources seemingly to me unjustifiable if there is any cheaper way of accomplishing the same end.
From my spies, I am pretty well satisfied that there is now in the vicinity of King's ranch a body of 150 well-armed and well-mounted Texans. Their horses are in fine condition, and they are on the other side of the sand desert, which is 30 miles wide, and devoid of water. They are very much on the alert, and scout actively, besides having spies between them and us, with orders to signalize our approach by smokes or otherwise.
Considering the poor condition of our cavalry and the rebel facilities of information and the nature of the country, it is hardly possible to surprise or capture them. We could easily drive them away, but they could as readily return unless we remained there with cavalry in some force. Should we do that, we would be compelled, from this base, to haul forage and supplies 120 miles, over a barren road, with great scarcity of water, whereas with Corpus Christi as a base, the distance to a point in that vicinity, should it then be thought advisable to occupy it, would be only 40 miles, with good water and grass. With Corpus Christi as a base of supplies the Nueces River Valley would furnish abundance of water and grass, and our cavalry would rapidly recruit. We could occupy and threaten much more readily than from here all the roads leading from San Antonio to Mexico.
The respective distances from it are: To Eagle Pass, 200 miles; to Laredo, 135 miles; to Roma, 145 miles; to San Antonio, 135 miles; to Goliad, 60 miles; to fort Ewell, the point where the San Antonio and Laredo road crosses the Nueces, 120 miles. The produce of the country, which has not yet been seized, and which has been arrested on its transit by our presence here, could be more readily reached from there, and more inviting to our friends who now remain in the interior, too distant to reach either this place or Saluria with safety.