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39 Series I Volume XXXIV-II Serial 62 - Red River Campaign Part II


small cavalry force and the trains between the posts would be liable to attack at any time by a small secret party of guerrillas. By building a small shed for a warehouse at Brazos Island, on the piles which are now there, and keeping an ordinary ferry flat at Boca Chica, the limited amount of stores necessary for a garrison of 500 men would be cheaply and easily supplied; but the depot should be furnished with one small steamboat capable of running in smooth weather into the month of the river, which could at one trip carry a three month's supply for the troops at Brownsvile, and could at other times be used, when necessary, to carry dispatches or information to Arkansas, Matagorda, or Galveston. The ferry at Boca Chica and a few wagons would suffice to communicate and supply, in event of long spells of stormy weather or of accident to the boat.

This arrangement would save a garrison at this point, and all that would be necessary at Brazos Island would be one company of white troops for artillerists and four or five companies of the Sixteenth Corps d'Afrigue. This would be even stronger than is absolutely necessary, as Brazos Island, with one company at Boca Chica, would be almost secure against the possibility of an attack from rebels. There is water at Brazos which will answer tolerably well the purposes of the troops, and water at the Rio Grande, only 9 miles distant. By the arrangements suggested above there would be available to leave this line for the interior, of the coast above, about 2,000 white infantry, two field batteries, of four guns each, five or six companies of the Sixteenth Corps d'Afrigue, and the First and Second Regiments of Texas Cavalry, Vidal's company, and Braubacks' company. The latter might be left here if thought best, but is it my opinion that a sufficient number of the infantry garrison could be mounted to serve all purpose of scouting. A discreet general officer should be left in command at Brownsville.

I would further suggest the removal of the Twentieth Iowa Infantry from Mustang Island to Pass Cavallo, and their place to be supplied by one company of white troops artilleries, and the five, or six companies of the Corps d'Afrique which would move from here. The single company of Colonel Baker's regiment (Twenty-sixth Corps d'Afrigue) which is now at Brownsville had better be removed from there, as there are no more recruits to be had. The First Regiment Engineers, Corps d'Afrigue, has about completed its work at Brownsville. Its work here will be about completed in about two weeks. I recommend that two companies be left at Brazos Island to complete the works, establish the ferry, and build the warehouse and dock, and the remainder of the regiment be made immediately available elsewhere. With a garrison of 500 men, the defenses at Brownsville are capable of resisting the attack of 5,000 good troops. I ask that the work be named by you "Fort Montgomery, in memory of the lamented captain of the First Texas Cavalry, who lost his life at the hands of rebel assistant near that place.

Our recent visit to King's Ranch and the information we have from Monterey, Roma, Eagle Pass, &c., give us assurance that the only force of rebels between the Nuecess and the Rio Grande is about 100 men, viz, 50 at Eagle Pass and 50 or 60 with Benavides. I have but little doubt that the notorious rebel chief, John Morgan, has arrived within a day or two at Matamoras of Havana. I sent the Ninety-first Illinois Infantry about a week ago to visit Salt Lake. It will return now in a couple days. There was no special object more important than giving them proper occupation. I have sent