sent to watch the enemy, and confine him as much as possible to the vicinity of Brownsville, and also to guard against any raid int he direction of San Antonio, and to keep open the roads from Eagle Pass and Laredo to San Antonio.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. WEST,
Captain, and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF TEXAS,
Camp on San Fernando, November 15, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston:
SIR: I am pleased to announce good news from the Rio Grande. Captain Robinson's company is safe, having proceed within 35 miles of Bronwsville, whence he returned to Ringgold and joined Major Benavides, who was busily engaged in passing over the river the quantities of cotton which were arriving there. All was crossing without difficulty. This news also assures me of the safety of the trains to Laredo, as there is no enemy in that whole section of country. The services rendered by Major Benavides and his command are worthy of all praise; with the dangerous example of his countrymen before him, and with no prospect of immediate support, he has done his whole duty. He writes me that as soon as the public property is saved-he is loading all return wagons to San Antonio with public stores-he will proceed down the river and look up the Yankees.
By the express from Major Benavides, came Mr. Frank Gildart, a refugee from Texas. He brings me most important information, and as his position is either that of a spy, or he is sincere, I premise by saying that he has impressed me with the truth of his statement. He came with the expedition from New Orleans; took advantage of the first opportunity to land on Matamoras, placed himself in communication with our friends there, and came through direct to me with Major Russell's passport, although with no letters from him.
The expedition under General Banks is not over 6,000 men. General Dana and General Vandever are his general officers; they lost three steamboats and four schooners on the trip. Lost all their artillery but two 6-pounders; all their horses but about 100, and had their ammunition all wet. About half the command are black troops. Davis with his regiment, which lacks 900 of being full, and Haynes with no troops at all, but is colonel of the Second Texas Cavalry, are with them; they have a large supply of arms and horse equipments, their object being to enlist the Mexicans and arm the negroes as they march through Texas. So soon as General Banks can communicate the fact of his arrival, then Generals Franklin and ord are to move on Texas from Berwick Bay, and the forces are to unite. Their determination is to lay waste and destroy the country, and neither Union men or Secessionists will be respected. General Banks is powerless for harm at Brownsville, and, with 2,000 men, we can annihilate him. Will the general send them to me? Gildart says that there is no danger of invasion along the coast, as they have neither troops nor boats; all that could be got were used for this expedition. The first object will be to get horses, and King's ranch is the point; if we can keep them from getting horses, we will keep them quiet.