My second lieutenant is at San Francisco by order of General Wright, and will probably not return.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES H. WHITLOCK,
Captain, Fifth Infantry California Volunteers, Commanding.
CHIHUAHUA, May 3, 1863.
Brigadier General JAMES H. CARLETON:
DEAR SIR: I received on yesterday, May 2, at 10 o'clock in the morning, the express which was directed to me by the quartermaster in Franklin. He delivered in good order the letter from yourself, one from General West, one from Lieutenant-Colonel McMullen, and another from the quartermaster. Also, other letters and papers. I received three days back a letter from General West, which had been detained on the road nearly two months. This was the first communication that came to hand from Franklin. My letter is an answer to all of them. Skillman's party left the Norte nearly two months since and traveled in the direction of Arizona. He had with him twenty-five men and one wagon. His movements since that time are unknow to me, thought it is reported here that a few days ago he entered into Guadalupe, the Mexican village below El Paso, and there prucured some Pueblo Indians as guides, and then departed, which way the report does not say. Whether this be true or not I cannot say. He brought no artillery to the Presidio del Norte. His party is evidently a purely scouting one, hunting for information and perhaps seeking an opportunity to kill a few isolated men, burn unprotected train, or run off horses when not weel guarded. His party is not strong enough to attempt anything mroe important. Besides Skillman's party I have not heard of any other, large or small, that has passed up north of Presidio. Between Fort Davis and San Antonio the balance of battalion is stationed. In what places and how divided I cannot say, but altogether, including Skillman's men, I do not hink they exceed 300 or 400 men. The troops below Fort Davis are evidently placed as a basis for Skillman's movements, to keep open the road to Chihuahua and receive and dispatch runners to and from San Antonio.
The large train which left this State for Texas, loaded with flour and grain, has passed through their hands and supplied them bountifully with those articles. Whether below Fort Davis they have any artillery I cannot state; nor do I know anything about how they are armed, nor who are their officers. Nobody from them has visited Presidio, and if any of them were near I am sure that women and whisky would have called them over. My information about them is from the consul at Monterey, and statements made by Skillman's men in Del Norte, which appear credible. Although Skillman may remit news to the troops below, I do not believe they can form any combination with him to attack, because they are so remote from each other that any point which Skillman may find weak could not be counted to remain so during the time that it would take to send down a runner and bring up a re-enforcement. I conclude, therefore, that Skillman's object is what I have already stated, and the troops, few in number, below Fort Davis are his line of communication and are stationary. Skillman himself started the report in Presidio that an army was coming behind. But no army has come, and the consul at Monterey has not spoken of any further organization of troops. I conclude that the battalion which was raised in San Antonio are the only troops which they have upon this frontier.