CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITIONARY FORCES,
Ringgold Barracks, July 2, 1864.
Brigadier General J. E. SLAUGHTER,
Chief of Staff, Houston, Tex.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward duplicate copies of reports of communications of June 3, 15, and 20. I presume the two first did not reach district headquarters, inasmuch as I have no acknowledgment of receipt nor any instructions concerning matters reported and only great importance. I have reported fully and frequently, and have reasons to believe my communications have not reached district headquarters, having been informed by Captain Samuel that Brigadier-General Slaughter had called upon Lieutenant Elliott for a report of my operations. I think I have just cause to complain of improper treatment should the information be correct. Lieutenant Elliott was not instructed with many matters connected with the expedition. He knew little of the scouts, reports of spies, &c. But presuming he had known all, to call upon him to report my operations was tantamount to a denial of the truth of what I have written to headquarters, and in imputation unjust and injurious to me as an officer and a gentleman. I would again urge upon the major-general commanding the propriety of sending cotton to my quartermaster to purchase supplies in the field. The arms furnished by Colonel Stockton are of a very inferior quality. The ammunition was bad, and was condemned by a board. I understand there are good arms in Houston; if so, I would respectfully request that at least 1,000 stand be forwarded to this command, and a sufficient supply of ammunition. I learn that several companies at the San Fernando have refused to consolidate and gone home. They are reported to have stolen many horses from citizens. Captain Richardson reports the evacuation of Mustang Island by the enemy. I would respectfully inquire by what authority Colonel Benavides addresses an order to the commanding officer at Ringgold Barracks; also why it is that Captain Christmas is allowed to go east after having been ordered west by me; also why I am deprived of the two pieces under Lieutenant Gardiner at a time I need them badly? I was promised the co-operation of Major Dickinson and was deprived of his services. Captain Shive was ordered to Houston to settle his accounts at a time to cripple me greatly. Major Nolan was ordered to rejoin his regiment, when his services were of the utmost importance. Lieutenant-Colonel Steele interfered with me, and afterward one of my companies was ordered to report to him for duty. The means intended to purchase supplies are under the control of an officer of the command, and he replies evasively when called upon to furnish anything. Yet I am held responsible and am expected to march upon 4,000 men and dislodge them from their fortifications with these inadequate means and these drawbacks upon me. Since I assumed command the enemy have been driven from the Nueces, from Laredo, and are now confined to Brownsville,a nd their outposts on the other side of the Arroyo Colorado. Confidence has been restored, our people are returning to their homes, and commerce is being re-established, and last, though not least, our relations with the Mexican authorities are of the most friendly character.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
JOHN S. FORD,