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[123] over on the Nueces river to collect beef-cattle and to capture cotton. He sent some companies to that quarter as fast as they were sworn into the service, to aid Major Nolan, who was in command at Corpus Christi, and who had reported the recapture of some cotton that was being carried to Corpus Christi for shipment. Colonel Ford learned from Major Nolan that a Mexican by the name of Cecilio Balirio had joined the Federals, and was made captain of a small company. He was in a concealed camp and was operating in aid of the Federals in the region of the Nueces, getting the cotton and stock for them. By using some strategy the locality of his camp was discovered. In the attack which followed, nine of Balirio's men were killed and a number of horses and some arms and ammunition were captured, with the loss of three men killed. This broke up that business in that region. Colonel Ford requested General Magruder to have him furnished with 200 bales of cotton, as that was the only way to get funds for the expedition. His route of march was down to the Nueces near to Corpus Christi, reaching Camp San Fernando, where he found Major Nolan and Captain Ware in charge of the troops. There were a great many bales of cotton secreted between the Nueces and Rio Grande, which were hunted up by Colonel Ford's men and turned over to the officers there.

While stationed there he received the following report (March 19th) from Col. Santos Benavides, commanding the line of the Rio Grande, relating to a battle at Laredo:

Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the town of Laredo has been attacked this afternoon by the enemy's forces, consisting of about 200 cavalry, Mexicans and Americans. I think this is the advance guard of the forces en route for this place. I have received positive information from my spies below on the river that about 300 men, infantry, and 2 pieces of artillery will arrive here in about two days. I have resisted the attack this afternoon with about 60 men. The affair lasted until night. The main body of the enemy retired about onehalf

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