the Headquarters of the Army or from the War Department since I entered upon duty as the department commander, except unimportant matters, and I am inclined to believe, from inspection of the envelopes, that they have been opened, and that all important communications have been withheld.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. A. WAITE,
Colonel, U. S. Army, Commanding Department.
STEAMER DANIEL WEBSTER,
New York Harbor, March 30, 1861.
Headquarters of the Army, Washington City.
SIR: I have the honor to report my arrival to-day in this steamer with Companies M, Second Artillery, and C and E, Third Infantry, Captain W. B. Johns commanding. The troops will land at Fort Hamilton in compliance with instructions to Major French.
In obedience to the orders of the general-in-chief* I sailed the 15th of February in this steamer for Brazos Santiago, with recruits, provisions, and medical stores for the garrisons of Forts Taylor and Jefferson, Fla., and provisions for the troops to embark at Brazos Santiago. The recruits (sixty-two) for Fort Taylor and all stores for the two forts were landed on the 23rd and 25th of February. I landed at Indianola on the 2nd of March and forwarded the dispatches in my possession addressed to the commander of the Department of Texas. On the 3rd instant, on arriving off Brazos, I availed myself of an opportunity offered by a commissioner of the State coming on board to enter the harbor and proceed to Fort Brown, which place I arrived at that night at 12 o'clock.
As the garrison of Fort Duncan had not arrived nor been heard from, I delivered to the commander of Fort Brown the instructions for Major French, and under the authority of my instructions issued the annexed letters, the provisions in which I considered essential for the comfort and speedy embarkation of the command and the security of the public property at the post, and to suppress any meditated design or attempt at intimidation. I then proceeded to the mouth of the Rio Grande to prepare the means for a speedy embarkation. I returned to Fort Brown on the 6th instant.
Major French, with three companies of artillery, arrived on the 8th, and on the 11th, the earliest practicable moment, collected the command at the mouth of the river, whence all embarked on the night of the 19th instant. Brazos Santiago was occupied by Texas volunteers, and hence, deeming it prudent, I arranged to embark at the mouth of the Rio Grande, which proved of no disadvantage. The garrisons of Forts Jefferson and Taylor were re-enforced on the 24th instant by the companies assigned them in instructions. Assistant Surgeon L'Engle, the only medical officer available at Fort Brown, relieved Surgeon McLaren at Fort Jefferson.
In a separate communication I have stated my reason for chartering the steamer General Rusk, but I wish to add here that without her aid the troops and batteries would now, in all probability, be on the Rio Grande. I was informed at Key West that certain parties (secessionists, some holding office) expressed themselves in strong and bitter
*For Porter's instructions see Series I, Vol. I, p. 588.