terms to the captain of the Rusk and against the agent of the company in Galveston for permitting the vessel to take re-enforcements to these forts. The Rusk was chartered with the knowledge (understanding) on the part of the captain and agent (E. B. Nichols, commissioner) on the Rusk. I make this last remark as I have heard the captain stated he was deceived in the terms of the charter. I am surprised 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 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 to sustain under trying circumstances a well-earned reputation for discipline and loyalty. A few 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,
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 Backus [Sibley], will probably embark upon her.
[Inclosure Numbers 1.]
FORT BROWN, TEX., March 4, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel E. BACKUS,
Third Infantry, Commanding Ringgold Barracks, Tex.
COLONEL: By authority and in the name of the general-in-chief I call upon you to act as circumstances may indicate the best for the service for the following purposes:
First. To dispatch the accompanying communication to the commander of Fort McIntosh, and in case the garrison of that post is marching or is to march in this direction, to expedite, if necessary, the movement and arrange that they do not want for provisions, &c.
Second. To hasten Major French's command to this post.
Third. To repair to this post, as soon as practicable, and also dispatch here Captain Bowman's company, giving the preference to the battery, if Major French's command has not passed your post and a steamer be available and his progress be expedited.
Fourth. To leave at your post in charge of agents appointed by you for the Government, or otherwise dispose of it according to regulations, property which will not be needed and interferes with your progress, and to bring the provisions on hand which will not be required for the troops above.
2 R R - SERIES II, VOL I