you can hardly fail to have an army of Texans even; and you will receive from them, as you move along, information as to the country and its resources as to the temper of the people, and as to the actual strength and whereabouts of all who oppose you, which will be of the greatest value.
I only wish it were my lot to be with you and serve under you. Please keep me informed of your movements and successes. That God may continue your good fortune, for your own sake and for the glory of the country is the earnest prayer of very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES H. CARLESTON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, December 25, 1863
Major General F. J. HERRON, New Orleans, La.:
GENERAL: When assuming command of the forces of the United States on the Rio Grande, in accordance with your instructions,* you will bear in mind it is the interest of the Government you represent to avoid all complications or difficulties with any foreign power. The immediate purpose of the occupation of the Rio Grande was the restoration oft he flag of the Union in Texas. The Rio Grande was selected as the most practicable opening for that purpose presented at the time when our orders were received, earnest efforts to secure a positioning any other part of the State having failed. I am confident you will find the Mexican authorities to be friendly to the Government and the people of the United States, and you will, of course, feel it to be your duty to cultivate such feeling in your intercourse with them.
General instructions were given to General Dana upon this subject, which will, doubtless, be turned over to you. I have also the honor to inclose to you a copy of instructions received from the Secretary of State, + indorsed, by the Secretary of War, # upon the subject of our relations with Mexico, and suggesting the course of conduct to be pursued by the officers representing the Government on the Rio Grande.
You will find preparations have been made for the enlistment of recruits for the army of the United States from the citizens of Texas, and also from the citizens of Mexico. The Texans entering the service have insisted upon their term being limited to the campaign in Texas, and a general assent has been given to their request in that respect. In all other respects the condition of their service is the same as that of volunteers in other States. It is of the utmost importance that our army be increased as far as possible by recruits in that country, and I earnestly commend this subject to your immediate and favorable consideration.
The river has been occupied as far as Rio Grande City by the cavalry under Colonel Davis. It is desirable that we should keep a close watch upon the river as far north as possible, and that communication may be established with General Carleton, who is in command of our forces in New Mexico, and whose advance guard hold position at Franklin, the northwestern point of Texas.
The immediate point of interest in connection with him is to ascertain in what way or forces can best co-operate in some future general opera-
*See Special Orders, Numbers 322, p. 879.
+See p. 815.
#For indorsement of the Secretary of War, see p. 846.