War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0129 Chapter LXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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part of the captain and agent (E. B. Nichols, commissioner) that a portion of the troops destined for these forts would be placed on the Rusk. I make this last remark, as I ha e heard the captain stated he was deceived in the terms of the charter. I am suprirsed to see in an annexed letter from Colonel Backus* that the secretary of the commissioner (Mr. Waller) was urging the surrender of the barracks at Fort Brown, General Nichols having assured me on the 13th instant that the secretary had instructions not to make such a demand, and that the fort would not be asked for till the army was ready to embark. Accompanying this are copies of all correspondence connected with my mission. In testimony of the character of that portion o of the army which came under my observation on the Rio Grande, I wish to state that I never saw a more orderly and better disposed and more easily controlled body of men, each man apparently seconding every effort and wish of the officers of sustain, under trying circumstances, a well-earned reputation for discipline and loyalty. A feew weak men yielded to temptation and persuasions and deserted their flag for another service. Whatever character they may assume with their confederates, that borne in our service is, in every case coming to my knowledge, sustained by their acts on deserting, and carries conviction that the army alone is the gainer.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. J. PORTER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

P. S.-Three days from Brazos Santiago, on the 22nd instant, spoke the Star of the West bound to that port. Three companies of the Third Infantry and two of the Second Cavalry, with Colonel Backus and Major Bakcus [Sibley], will probably embark upon her.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]

FORT BROWN, TEX., March 4, 1861.

Major W. H. FRENCH,

First Artillery, Commanding Battalion First Artillery,

en route to Fort Brown, Tex.:

SIR: I have caused to be sent to your aid several wagons pertaining to this command, and by authority of the General-in-Chief urge you to hasten to this post. On arrival you will be furnished with orders for the future. If Captain Bowman's company be in your rear, and en route, needing aid to bring him here with expedition, I desire you to press on to him any of this transportation which can be spared.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. J. PORTER,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.]

ARTILLERY BATTALION, IN CAMP AT LA BLANCA, TEX.,

About Fifty Miles from Brownsville, March 6, 1861-1 p. m.

Major F. J. PORTER,

Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, Fort Brown, Tex.:

MAJOR: Your communication of the 4th instant reached me in camp at 3.30 p. m. yesterday, at the Tortugas, thirty-three miles from here. I met the wagons this morning at 7.30 o'clock six miles this side of Edinburg. The heat of the weather and the lengthened marches compelled me to take all the wagons for my command, particularly as major

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*See inclosure Numbers 11.

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9 R R-VOL LII, PT I