I address this letter directly to you, general, because I think it less liable to be misunderstood by you than if it were more formal.
Forty men from the Northern Sub-District deserted last week from Sabine Pass; 60 last night from Hobby's regiment on the march to Galveston from the west. General Bee has just come in, and informed me that the whole of Woods' regiment some 700 men held meetings last night to decide upon the step of going to the west, where their families live with arms in their hands and against orders. I have sent after and captured some of the former, and informed General Bee that I would if I could find faithful troops to stand by me, exterminate any regiment or regiments who attempted to march without orders.
The pretext or reason is the exposed state of their families. I shall arrest the commanding officers in the first two instances, if their explanations are not perfect satisfactory. In the last, the mutiny has not yet ripened, and I think the favorable news of the retirement of the enemy, received last night, will postpone it for the present.
I have ordered Colonel Ford and some 700 men to advance on and attack the enemy on the Rio Grande, as their position there invites it. I have twice asked that Colonel Ford might be put in command, but having received no order, I have recognized him, he having already taken the field at the call of the people, who have confidence in him, and at the suggestion of Major Dickinson, assistant adjutant-general, at San Antonio and with the approval of the Governor.
I have, since commencing this letter, received information of the passage west of another transport with troops.
My difficulties here would be as nothing, if the troops could be made to stay in the ranks and the people be true to themselves.
I require and can scarcely get along without the services of Major Cave, who having been Secretary of State here, and being a man of great energy, ability, and tact, is better suited to organize the State troops than any one else.
The discharge of one-fourth and the substitution of another will require all these qualities, and I beg you will recommend Mr. E. W. Cave and Lieutenant J. D. McAdoo, as assistant adjutant-general, to be assigned to duty with the State troops in Confederate service.
I wish you would come down and pay me a visit. You would learn more in a week than I could tell you in months, and, besides, as your objects and mine are precisely the same, being the disinterested and unselfish service of the country, much good will result from it.
Colonel Benavides has stood firm, and all his command, on the Rio Grande. I have written him thanks, and authorized him to dispose of 250 bales of cotton for specie with which to pay in part his men, who, General Slaughter informs me, are very poor, and have not been paid for six months.
I have ordered Major Dickinson to place at Monterey 250 bales more for some purpose, and have informed him I would send 1,000 bales more if I could, and authorized him to expend the money in raising troops and gaining to our cause all the Mexicans he can on both sides of the Rio Grande. Gold will do it.
In order to relieve me and himself of any embarrassment in reference to the occupation by him of so important a position, he not being commissioned Major Cave has been relieved from active duty in confection with the State troops, and is now with me in the field.
He is, however, willing to devote himself to any duties I may impose on him waiving any claim to exercise any power whatever. The Legislature having passed an act for the drafting of 25 per cent. additional