HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION,
Fort Brown, Tex., August 15, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: The Federal vessels off the mouth of the Rio Grande are exercising their power with a high hand. They have seized and sent away the brig Atlantic, loaded with cotton, and sailing under the English flag. They have a prize crew on board of the schooner Scudd, partly loaded with cotton, on the ground that under another name she had at some time past run the blockade, and avow their intention to take any vessel that has ever run the blockade, even if in the port of Nassau.
On yesterday the senior captain commanding the squadron here demanded of Governor Ruiz that he should compel the English steamers Gladiator, Celt, and William Peel to leave the anchorage off the river and put to sea, and if not complied with in forty-eight hours, that they would seize them; that they had been informed that those vessels had brought cargoes for the Confederate States, which were being delivered.
The Governor, in reply, denied their right to molest those vessels, as having arrived at Matamoras from England, consigned to Mexican merchants, and protested against their right to disturb them. This communication was sent down this morning, and, of course, I do not know the result, but I have no doubt that the vessels will be taken, if not in the neutral port of Matamoras, certainly when they depart for England.
These high-handed measures of the Yankees will be productive of good the prevailing dissatisfaction in England, and will be productive of good to our cause. There are more goods in Matamoras than we can pay for, so no injury to us will result. The William Peel is not yet unloaded.
Major Russell will inform you of his progress in the cotton business.
The French have taken Tampico, and are expected here daily. Most of the troops in Matamoras left yesterday for the interior with all the money in the custom-house. Governor Ruiz will move to Victoria, and no resistance will be made to the advance of the French. I trust that on their arrival I may be able to be of some service to my country, compensating me for my sojourn here.
I regret to say that I have to order the troops which I had concentrated here back to the sanitary camps-sixty cases in the hospital out of 200 men; every officer of my staff, all my clerks and orderlies, are sick or convalescing. Surgeon McKnight is now very sick. The panic amongst the troops renders it impossible to keep them here, for at dress parade on yesterday there were but two officers out of four companies, the rest being sick or on duty.
I am without instructions as to my rule of conduct when the French may arrive, but shall, in the exercise of the discretion the general commanding has reposed in me, do all I can to obtain arms, and enlist their sympathy and assistance for our cause.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.
Copy to be sent to General Smith, and through him to Richmond. Write Brigadier-General Bee a letter of thanks stating the appreciation of the commanding general os his patriotism and valuable services, and reassure him of his entire confidence in his judgment. He leaves the course to be pursued by General Bee in his intercourse with the French