WASHINGTON, December 19, 1865.
Major General P. H. SHERIDAN:
After my dispatch to You of the 16th instant I saw the President and showed him yours to which mine was an answer. I can say this after consultation: The President, as well as the whole country, is interested in the Liberal cause in Mexico. It cannot, the way relations now stand, be given as a direct order that commanders shall take part either in battles or in agreements between belligerents as to what protection or guaranty the Government will give to either in any case; but there are no extradition treaties existing between the United States and any other Government which require the giving up of belligerents to their enemies. Officers of the army on the Rio Grande should officially be neutral in the same sense that belligerents on the other side of the river have been when we were in trouble. Their sympathies are their own, and they alone are responsible for them. Many rebels are supposed to have crossed the Rio Grande to join their fortunes with those of the empire. It cannot be expected of us that we will keep up a police force on that river to prevent persons who may possibly take up the opposite side from crossing. I think a visit from You to the Rio Grande at this time will do good. If You go let me hear from You on Your return the situation. It is not improbable that Congress will, before the end of the session, take decided measures on our affairs in Mexico and demand the withdrawal of all foreign troops from her soil. I hope so, at least.
U. S. GRANT,
WASHINGTON, December 30, 1865.
New Orleans, La.:
If practicable, reduce by muster-out the white troops in Your division to 10,000 white and 10,000 colored troops. If this reduction cannot be safely reached approach it as near as possible.
U. S. GRANT,
CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY FORCES FRONT LINES,
Lodi Plantation, April 1, 1865.
Major J. P. SMITH:
MAJOR: No reports from General Harrison have been received for several days. The front south of Red River is quiet. One of my spies in the La Fourche has been arrested by the enemy, which has interrupted temporarily our communications. I respectfully call attention to statements in the Cincinnati papers that on the 12th March twenty-seven steamers ascended the Cumberland River, and that on the 14th the Government took up a number of steamers at Louisville. The scouts just north of Red River report that on the 25th instant a steamer loaded with troops passed down, and that most of the gun-boats between the mouth of Red River and Vidalia have been sent below. A boat passed out the mouth of Red River night before last, supposed to be a cotton boat from the Ouachita. I respectfully forward You a copy of an agreement entered into by Captain Ratliff and some Federal officer,