War of the Rebellion: Serial 062 Page 0295 Chapter XLVI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES ON THE RIO GRANDE,

Brownsville, Tex., February 11, 1864.

Major General E. O. C. ORD,

Commanding Corps:

GENERAL: In reply to your letter of this date, asking information in regard to the forces and condition of affairs on the Rio Grande frontier, I would respectfully offer the following statement: The forces now garrisoning Brownsville are the Second Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, and a Texas cavalry brigade, consisting of two partially formed regiments. The Second Division is composed of two brigades, of the following strength:

FIRST BRIGADE.

Effective men.

37th Illinois Infantry................................ 289

26th Indiana Infantry................................. 173

91st Illinois Infantry................................ 427

38th Iowa Infantry.................................... 195

-------

Total.................................................1,084

Battery E, 1st Missouri Artillery..................... 88

________

--------

SECOND BRIGADE

20th Wisconsin Infantry............................... 253

19th Iowa Infantry.................................... 201

94th Illinois Infantry................................ 302

------

Total................................................. 756

Battery B, 1st Missouri Artillery..................... 162

_______

-------

CAVALRY BRIGADE

1st Texas Cavalry...................................... 555

2nd Texas Cavalry....................................... 370

------

Total.................................................. 925

This gives a total of 1,840 effective infantry, 925 cavalry, and 250 artillerymen. Of the seven regiments composing the Second Division, two, the Thirty-seventh Illinois and Twenty-sixth Indiana, are old regiments that will re-enlist as veterans and be sent home on furlough within thirty days.

The strength of these two regiments is 462 effective, which would leave the command numbering 1,378. Of the two batteries, both old, one has at present 33 infantrymen detailed, and the other 54. Should they re-enlist as veterans, as they undoubtedly will, men will have to be detailed from the infantry to man the batteries during the absence of such as go on furlough. Taking the present strength of the batteries, this would require 163 from the infantry, thereby reducing the total of infantry to 1,215 men, and would make the total of infantry and cavalry combined, 2,604 men. To reduce the garrison at Brownsville at the present time to less than 2,000, or at the very lowest 1,500 men, would in my opinion make it a very tempting bait for the enemy.

Colonel Ford, who is in command of the enemy's forces west of the San Antonio River, has, at the present writing, between 600 and 700 regular troops, and is using every exertion to raise a force to operate against Brownsville. With a weak garrison here and a fair prospect of success, he could raise 2,000 men for such an enterprise, and I have not the slightest doubt but that 500 more would join him