Many excuses were made for the ill condition of affairs, but I am well assured that an energetic and faithful surgeon would have accomplished more than what I there saw. Fortunately, there were not very many patients.
There are three gunboats, the Clifton, Sachem, and Bell; the last two were undergoing repairs; the first was in good condition manned chiefly by a company of artillery of Cook's regiment. The guns were well cared for, and everything clean and neat; men seem cheerful and prompt in the execution of the drill; most of the men are furnished for this service by details.
I found that Colonel Buchel had a soldier on duty with him as a cook; he brought the subject to my attention himself, remarking that he could not avoid it, as he had tried unsuccessfully to hire servants and could not; this man was taken with his own and captain's consent. The colonel states that few of his officers have been able to procure servants, either here or upon the Rio Grande, and that they are compelled to make use of enlisted men, in violation of General Orders, Numbers 20, Adjutant and Inspector General's Officer, Paragraph III.
He also strongly urges the propriety of allowing the officers a ration, for at the reduced value of the currency they find it exceedingly difficult to live, nearly all of their pay going to the commissary.
I would respectfully recommend that this matter be taken into consideration by the lieutenant-general, and, if this matter be taken into consideration by the lieutenant-general, and, if, possible, that an order be given for the issue of a ration to officers, and that the matter of employing soldiers as servants be in this instance overlooked. This command has been thrown together rather hastily, without a brigade organization; hence there is no regular adjutant's office nor inspector-general, nor other than a post quartermaster, commissary, and hospital.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Assistant Inspector-General, Trans-Mississippi Department.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
October 14, 1863.
Lieutenant H. M. STANARD,
Aide-de-Camp, Houston, Tex.:
SIR: You will proceed to Nassau, New Providence, via Brownsville and Havana, to make such arrangements as you may find possible for the supply of small-arms, and their appropriate ammunition, to this department.
On your arrival in Havana, you will consult Mr. Helm, consular agent in that place, and are fully authorized to contract for the delivery on Texas soil, at the mouth of th Rio Grande or at Brownsville, via Matamoras, at Pass Cavalro, or the mouth of the Brazos River, of any number of these arms not to exceed 30,000, to be paid for in cotton upon delivery of the arms, the cotton to be valued in specie at the port of delivery; the arms to be delivered at 100 per cent. above the original invoice price, we paying cost and charges, the risk to be incurred by the shipper and not by the Government.
You will consult with Mr. Helm as to making out the papers in a legal form, and also with Captain Da Ponte as to the supply of arms
21 R R-VOL XXVI, PT II