two years (and more especially the last year) a great drought in the country west and south of the Nueces River, extending far over into the interior of Mexico, consequently the animals found here, or brought from the neighboring States of Mexico, are not in condition for use.
I would suggest the following objections to the purchase of horses from Mexico: First, they are at best small, and not of strength sufficient for the carrying of a cavalryman with his equipments on the long raids and marches that are necessary in Western Texas. Second, they have to be paid for in specie. Third, animals of same kind, or better, can, I think, be obtained between the Rio Grande and San Antonio Rivers, by adopting the plan mentioned in my conversation with the general of to-day.
As regards the general use of this kind of horse for cavalry, there is a final objection, which seems to me not the least important: They are smaller and weaker than the average of Texan horses used by the enemy (half-bred or full-bred American horses). If, then, our cavalry can only get that kind of mount, we must necessarily be at a constant disadvantage in speed ad weight. The general, I think, does not doubt the absolute necessity of a strong and well-equipped cavalry force for operations on a large scale in Texas. Toward the organization of this force he already has in his corps many regiments that could be speedily turned into cavalry, and can expect considerable additions from refugee recruits. It only remains to procure the horses and equipments. The latter must be furnished from other parts, but with a nucleus of good horses to begin with, I think we may be able to supply a deficiency of the former. If it should be thought advisable to procure animals only for the rapid transportation of bodies of infantry, then I think Mexican mules might be purchased almost as cheap as Mexican horses, and they have the advantage of being much more durable.
The general will perceive that the Mexican recruits have not been as numerous as was expected. For this several reasons may be alleged: First, the bounty promised them has not been paid, nor have they received any of their monthly pay, and this delay cannot be explained to their satisfaction; accordingly there is among them an impression that they have been badly treated. Second, the difficulties on the other side of the river, commencing at the time of our arrival here, have driven into the ranks of the contending parties most of the available men. Third, there has not sufficient clothing been given to those enlisted. In some cases men have been in the service more than two months without a pair of shoes.
All this has operated to check recruiting of that class. I must say, however, that I do not believe the Mexicans in large numbers can be induced to enter our service and remain without paying them with regularity in specie, which is obviously not advisable, even were it possible to do so. They soon become dissatisfied with our manner of making payments, and being of Indian blood and nature, the discipline and restraint of this camp, and the value of their horses, arms, and equipments proving too much of a temptation, they take an opportunity to desert and carry them into Mexico, in some cases deserting from off picket. The general will see from the inclosed statement (based upon an estimate of a cavalry force of 2,500 men) the articles wanting to a complete outfit. There has been a strange neglect in sending forward articles of the first necessity in