in command of the entire line of the Rio Grande, and, being friendly to our cause, will greatly facilitate our commercial operations with that country.
Having understood while at Monterey that a large quantity of cotton had been sent to Laredo, a portion of which belonged to the Government, I negotiated a loan of &100,000 in specie, or so much thereof as might be required, to pay freight on Government cotton, and proceeded to that point under as escort which was kindly furnished me by Governor Vidaurri. On my arrival, I found about 4,000 bales, and the enemy being at Rio Grande City, and reported to be advancing, I had it placed on the Mexican bank of the river, to prevent its falling into their hands. Of this cotton, I found 104 bales consigned to me by Major B. Bloomfield, chief quartermaster of this district, which I shipped to Matamoras for sale on Government account, and 166 bales shipped by Major S. Hart, quartermaster, which, presuming it to be Government cotton, I received and paid the freights to prevent its being sacrificed, as the teamsters were offering it for sale the freight. On the arrival of Mr. Hart's agent, Mr. Peter Gallagher, this cotton was turned over to him, and Major Hart advised of my action.
After crossing all the cotton at Laredo, I ordered my chief clerk to Eagle Pass to discharge a similar duty, and I proceeded to this place for orders, having received no advises since the evacuation of Fort Brown.
The force of the enemy when I left Mexico was estimated as follows: At Brownsville, about 2,500 (principally negroes), General Dana commanding; at Rio Grande City, about 400, and about 500 Mexican thieves, commanded by the traitor Vidal, formerly an officer of the Confederate Army. Our force consisted of two companies of Mexicans, numbering about 150, under Colonel Benavides, encamped about 13 miles from Laredo. Benavides is a gallant officer, and, with his men, has rendered efficient service; his force, however, is inadequate, and unless re-enforced he cannot accomplish much.
In regard to commercial matters, I will remark that we have many friends in Matamoras and Monterey who are anxious to furnish all army supplies, including munitions of war, provided some settled policy is adopted for their security; but, major, permit me to say, with due deference to the opinions of those who differ with me, that the present vacillating policy has caused a want of confidence in our Government and its officers which must result disastrously to our army and detrimental to the credit of the Government, and unless this evil is speedily remedied it is idle to longer expect a continuance of the confidence of commercial men. All transactions are based upon military orders, which, in regard to cotton, are so conflicting that they afford no guarantee for a compliance with any contract or obligation, either public or private. All admit that the military authorities are actuated by pure and patriotic motives, but they must necessarily be governed and arrive at conclusions as to the effect of these orders from results immediately surrounding them, or from information of a very limited character, obtained from representations of a few, and, in many instances, interested parties. I need hardly say to you that it is impossible for any one man to adopt a policy by the issuance of a simple order (subject to be modified or revoked at any moment, either by himself or his superior officer), upon a subject involving the interests of the entire country, by which he can secure the confidence of commercial men; and deeming it important, in fact essential to our success, to sustain the credit of the Government by a strict and