CONFIDENTIAL.] HDQRS. DIST OF TEX., N. MEX., AND ARIZ.,
Houston, July 3, 1864.
FRANK W. LATHAM,
C. S. Collector, Laredo:
SIR: Inclosed please find official copy of letter from Governor Cortina, forwarded to these headquarters by Colonel Ford.* The necessities of the Government call for additional arms and minitions of war. The terms and plans proposed are perfectly acceptable to the major-general commanding, and he desires you to secure at once all the good and serviceable arms and munitions of war (ordnance) of all descriptions possible. Any funds which you may find it necessary to advance from the collector's office you may rest assured will be promptly returned. The major-general commanding will push forward the cotton necessary therefor as rapidly as state of roads, &c., will permit. The unsettled state of affairs in Tamaulipas calls for prompt and energetic movement sin order that we may realize before some untoward events transpire to present a n obstacle to its successful issue. Great care should be taken in the inspection of these articles before they are received. The necessary arrangements have already been made with the Cotton Office for the cotton.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. E. SLAUGHTER,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITION FORCES,
Ringgold Barracks, July 3, 1864.
Brigadier General J. E. SLAUGHTER,
Chief of Staff, Houston, Tex.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that our advices from matamoras represent the enemy to have been greatly excited by the affair at Las Races. Families crossed to matamoras in the night, and an attack from a heavy forces was expected every moment. Major-General Herron sent for re-enforcements. They acknowledge that but eight of the two companies attacked reached Brownsville. I am preparing ammunition, &c., for a forward movement. The want of grass between the Arroyo Colorado and Brownsville will be a serious obstacle to my operations.
I have the honor to be, your very obedient servant,
JOHN S. FORD,
NATCHITOCHES, July 4, 1864.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
GENERAL: An unexpected opportunity of writing to Richmond tempts me to renew, to the extent at least of a letter, our former intimacy. When you retired from command of the army in Georgia it was the general desire of the army and people of Louisiana that you might come to this side of the Mississippi. No one indulged that hope more ardently than myself. What a change in the destiny of this department would your presence not have produced! Should the war continue
*Cortina's letter not found; but see Ford to Slaughter, Vol. XXXIV, Part IV, p. 684.