Franklin burnt up, and, in fine, you must make a desert of the country as far as you evacuate. Should you obtain undistrubed occupation of San Elizario, I shall send you further instructions about preparations for defense of the valley. Be watchful and keep me apprised of every incident of interest.
Yours, very truly,
J. R. WEST,
Colonel First Infantry California Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARIZONA,
Mesilla, November 27, 1862.
Captain BEN C. CUTLER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Santa Fe:
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of various communications from departmetn headquarters, dated November 10 to 18, inclusive. Most of the instructions therein contained are minor matters and have been compled with; the others will be in due course. The latest news of the enemy is contained in the inclosed copy of letter from Captain Willis, at Hart's Mill, yesterday. * A line from a friend from El Paso of same date says, "The talk about town is that the Texan troops are at Fort Clark. " The accompanying copy of instructions to Major William McMullen tomove with two companies will convey to you what has been done to prevent any raid upon Franklin. + I had the move in contemplation before any force was removed in the vicinity. San Elizario is the starting point for carrying out the instructions of the general commanding to lay everything wate if the enemy advances in too large force, as also the locality fixed by him for the first collection of grain. On the latter point I shall lose no time. I feel quite assured that I can cripple the enemy by following the general's instructions, if he comes this route. And I feel quite as well assured that he will go by way of the Pecos. If any force appears ypon the Rio Grande, in my opinion it will be sent there to hold me in check and mask the designs of the main force. Hence my suggestion to have a scout at Fort Lancaster. Without cavalry and the New Mexicans without arms I can send none. Can it be done from Colonel Carson's outpost at the Penasco? Horsehead Crossing must determine which road the enemy will come, then the news could be carried to Fort Craig, thence to me at San Elizario in forty fours; or, perhaps, a few men could get through by the Hueco Tanks road. If the enemy gets too much the start up the Pecos while I am at San Elizario, there is danger of preventing the junction of my force with that of the general commanding. I merely mention these matters for consideration. I am ordered to inspire the Mexicahis is a task probabaly neither difficult nor injudicious. I must conclude that I am to be the judge, howeve, when such inspiration can be effected. I cannot be done without arms to put in their hands to assuage the fears that an allusion to danger must give rise to. Yet it shall be attempted in obedience to orders whenever the danger becomes imminent. I am asked how many arms can I use in their hands? I reported six weeks ago that 500 are needed, and adhere still to that opinion. Captain Shoemaker has sent me no rifle ammunition, nor ave I a line from him on the subject. I do not intend to complain of my position; it may the result of necessity. But I trust the depart-
* See Vol. XV, p. 606.
+ See next, ante.