War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 1290 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LX.

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finally defending the works themselves, would probably defeat six times their number. The enemy cannot prepare this summer an expedition of sufficient magnitude to overcome such an opposition on the lower Rio Grande, and it is almost impossible for him to land an army in safety at the mouth of the Rio Grande in winter. We should thus probably gain one year, and receiving our supplies by that frontier, keeping our communications free with Mexico, with the opportunity to profit by such events as the year may bring forth, our armies could easily keep the field against the enemy during this period. In selecting this brigade to occupy Brownsville I should be guided mainly by the consideration of the locality of their private interests. Troops born, raised, and owning property in Eastern Texas would be preferred. I have such a brigade, and that commanded by an officer of great intelligence, firmness, and gallantry-Harrison's brigade, Maxey's division. The grass is now good and the march could be made with rapidity. Additional transportation would of course be required. The main difficulty however is as to the means of supporting troops at that point. In 1863 I maintained 5,000 troops at Brownsville. It was expensive and involved a high responsibility from which I did not shrink. It will cost about $25,000 (specie) a month, everything included except pay, which will be unnecessary, to support the troops which I propose to keep on the Rio Grande, including Harrison's brigade. Mr. Sorley or any good merchant, or Judge Gray himself, if he would be guided by their advice, could easily make an arrangement with the people of Texas to obtain cotton enough to pay this sum. That these re-enforcements should be sent to Brownsville is in my judgment a high military necessity; that a sufficiency of the products of the country should be applied to support them, there is equally a military necessity of the highest order, for blockade running and that the enemy will within a reasonable time be in possession of the Rio Grande, why should the cotton be sent out of the country at all, perhaps to pay for articles which we never will get, or perhaps to go into the pockets of heavy contractors who control its disposition in Europe? If Judge Gray desires to receive supplies for the cotton he sends out he must pay the expenses necessary to keep at least one line of transit open for the trade. Was there a merchant who ever refused to pay the expenses of his business? and who can pay these expenses except Judge Gray, who alone holds the purse strings? The responsibility will be very grave upon the head of that officer or man who alone possessing the means to benefit the country not only fails to do so, but makes such an application of them as cannot by any possibility subserve the interests of the Trans-Mississippi Department for which he is the Treasury agent. I know not, general, what troops are vitally needed, as at Brownsville, they should be stationed, and that they should there be supported by the Treasury agent, who alone has the means-whether he desires it or not. I do not think the President would censure any commanding general who would assume such a degree of responsibility as might be necessary to support his troops. I hope action may be taken upon this matter at Your earliest convenience; at least that You will do me the honor to answer this communication, which I send by Lieutenant Murdoch, an officer temporarily on duty in my office during General Hebert's illness, who will bring me any communication from You on the subject. He goes by the stage chartered for General Preston. I have communicated very freely with General Preston upon this and all