for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding that the bar at the mouth of the Brazos has very recently shoaled to 5 1/2 feet, and can no longer be used by the great majority of blockade-runners, and that the only remaining ports not in possession of the land forces of the enemy are San Luis Pass, Galveston, and Sabine Pass. The former may be occupied by the enemy at any moment, as it has no fortifications, not being capable of successful defense.
The operation of introducing arms is therefore attended with much greater risk than formerly, and all chances will be lost should the enemy gain possession of these two points, which he may possibly do in a few months. Arms can no longer be introduced through any part of Mexico, therefore no time should be lost, and no impediments put in the way by any person for the procurement of the means upon which the safety of the whole depends. The time required by even this reference of the subject to the lieutenant-general commanding may prove highly disadvantageous or fatal, and I would not make it but that I feel, after his letter of the 26th ultimo, that I am no longer justified in depending upon his support, since I have been successful thus far and might possibly have to meet disaster hereafter. Upon the second and third points upon which I require instructions, I have already expressed my opinion in the body of this letter. I had nearly forgotten to mention that Colonel Ford is to proceed to the lower Rio Grande, in command of an expeditionary force, to keep the enemy from the line of the cotton transit, and at the request of the Governor to afford him all the assistance in my power, I have ordered Major Dickinson and Colonel Benavides to report to him, with all the forces they can raise or concentrate. I have written three times to the lieutenant-general commanding, requesting that Colonel Ford, superintendent of conscripts, be assigned to duty in the field, my object being to place him in command of such an expedition, but I have received no reply to either of my letters. I have the honor to request that he will communicate to me his decision at his earliest convenience.
In conclusion, I have the honor to state that in asking for the establishment of a cotton bureau, I had no idea that it was to be clothed with a power entirely independent of the commander of this district. I agreed to refer to them any contracts made by my order, and I believe they are but two, and they are for arms, but I had no idea they would ignore such contracts if they were made in good faith and if their fulfillment could be secured. To adopt a different conclusion would be to suppose that they are dishonest men, which I am very far from doing. I never contemplated that the cotton bureau should have authority to impress the labor or transportation of the country without applying to me, in order that it might be regulated in such manner as not to interfere with the operations of the army, and still less did I suppose it possible that any one would exact of me a conference with my junior officer as to the propriety of my own judgment in any emergency or contingency which affected my command. What I did expect the cotton bureau to do was this: To have all contracts made before their organization submitted for their revision, to provide cotton for the fulfillment of those that were made and were being carried out in good faith, to make exclusively all contracts in future, except when a public necessity in my judgment or an unforeseen emergency or the impossibility of communication or the danger of delay induced me to order contracts to be made; and this would surely happen, but in these