Captain Ware had been to the send desert. He captured a caballado from a party of 9 thieving Mexicans. Major Rogers recommends the propriety of sending the animals to the San Antonio River for grass.
On the 4th instant Captain Ware reported no enemy this side of Brownsville, and that he could hear of none this side of Brownsville. Lieutenant Tinney, of Maltby's battery, and several men deserted to the Yankees. The entire destitution of grass and the scarcity of water on the line of the lower Nueces may necessitate the adoption of the line of Fort Ewell, Los Angelos, and San Antonio Viejo. In that event I should make a depot at Los Angelos, where there is an abundant supply of water, grass, ad wood. Upon this line my flanks would be more secure and my force easily concentrated and made available to meet and drive back a column of the enemy advancing from the the direction of El Paso.
Colonel Benavides reports the Nueces River actually for miles. He favors the opinion that the Yankees are advancing from El Paso. The reasons for this belief are given in his report, herewith inclosed. The Yankees are inactive upon the lower Rio Grande, and if we can make a sudden dash upon them success is almost certain. Colonel Benavides is satisfied that the march would render all our horses unserviceable and incapacitate us for active operations for some weeks to come. I shall forward a plan concerning the occupation of the Devil's River Pass per next mail.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
JOHN S. FORD,
SAN ANTONIO, February 7, 1864.
Colonel JOHN S. FORD,
Commanding Ex. Forces, San Antonio, Tex.:
COLONEL: Having arrived at your headquarters on business connected with my command, I deem it not out of place to put you in possession of some facts which have come to my knowledge. A man by the name of Bill Cannon arrived at Nuevo Laredo as bearer of dispatches from the Yankees. He there procured at Mexican to carry the dispatches to Fort Lancaster, paying him for his trouble $200. I immediately sent a courier to the Mexican commander at Piedras Negras, asking to have this man arrested as a horse thief. My request was granted, and in endeavoring to arrest him he was shot and badly wounded. The dispatches were not received but I am confident I can get them, and will forward them immediately.
I have friends in Matamoras and along the Rio Grande who keep me posted in regard to the movements of the yankees, their purchases of horses, &c.; consequently I am perfectly secure form surprise; besides, I keep my scouts and spies constantly near Brownsville. I have reliable information that the expedition heretofore supposed to be destined for San Antonio or Lared are now camped at Rancho Comosellame, 60 miles from Brownsville. I have sent 25 men, under Lieutenant Martin Gonzales, to that point, who will bring information of their strength, &c. They were compelled to move out of Brownsville on account of forage for their horses. Corn plenty in Brownsville, but no grass nearer than Rancho Comosellame. Being a personal friend of the Mexican military com-