General H. P. Bee
, who lately returned from the Ric Grande
, whither he had been sent by the Government
, has furnished the Goliad Messenger
with a statement of the sit nation of affairs on the Rio Grande
, and some of the reasons why Brownsville
should be defended.
The statement is the substance of General Bee
's report to the Government
From it we take the following extract:
has been repaired, and in a short time could be made as strong as such works usually are. There are twenty-five pieces of cannon there; included in these a light battery, complete, and ready for service in twenty minutes. The horses are poor and unserviceable, but improving — about 300 rounds of ammunition for each piece, of the best description, and a good supply of powder and ball cartridges.
There is one 10 inch mortar; no piece over a 26-pounder.
There are at this time four companies of Texas Rangers at Fort Brown
--say four hundred men.
is the depot of the Mexican
Last year $12,000,000 in bullion passed through the custom-house on route
for the United States
The imports of goods, principally dry goods
, is proportionably heavy.
All that trade is now suspended — no direct shipments have arrived at Matamoras
from foreign port--two vessels arriving from New York under the British
flag, while I was there; one was wrecked; both were loaded with provisions and necessary supplies.
The foreign merchants at Matamoras
are English and German, and are friendly to our cause.
They have not made any extensive arrangements for importations, owing to the unsettled state of opinion concerning the raising of the blockade — if it should not be done they will import directly to Matamoras
are neutral, the officers, civil and military, profess and exhibit every desire to co-operate with us in making peace and good order on the line, and we have aided in stopping Cortinas
from his forays in Texas
population on this side of the river are quiet, but not to be relied on in case of invasion.
By virtue of commissions from the Lincoln
authorities, two or three hundred Mexican
guerrillas could be mustered into the service of the United States
, and depredate on and destroy the stock interests of Western Texas
Once in possession of Brownsville
, we could not readily dispossess them.
It is 250 miles from the dense settlements of Texas
and a dreary desert of sand or fifty miles interior.
My conclusions are, that it is of the utmost importance to the Confederacy
, that that port should be held by it. Shut up and encompassed around, as we men are, it is the only point through which we can correspond or communicate with the nations of Europe
— by the expenditure of capital and energy, every supposable supply for our port or people can be brought to Matamoras
It will keep quiet and neutral a large and in some things efficient force of a race embittered against us by real or imaginary wrongs, dating back twenty years. By means of the steam boats now at Brownsville
the enemy could transport a force to Ringgold Barracks, and thence by forced marches over a good road, be at San Antonio
in 12 days, leaving no enemy in the rear,
but on the contrary a willing and useful ally to keep up their connection.
It is the most feasible way to invade Texas
should either be defended or given up at once and the cannon withdrawn.
It will be too late when the enemy lands.
A few men — a thousand men — will only be caught in the trap, for there is no retreat, the gloomy desert of sand will prevent the cannon being saved.
The enemy will not land with less than 10,000 men. The material of war there is worth its weight in gold to our cause.
It will be lost within two months, in my opinion, and irreparable damage to Texas
Not less than 5,000 men ought to be permanently there, extending up to Fort McIntosh
An officer should command who speaks the Mexican
language and understands the people, and if he is wise and firm he will keep the peace with Mexico
, and make them useful friends.