Mr. Sullivan to Mr. Seward.
Sir: Inclosed, No. 1, is a report of the engagement had on the 28th ultimo between a portion of President Mosquera’s forces, under command of General Lopez, his secretary of war, and the opposition forces at Banco, an important point on the Magdalena River.
About two hundred troops arrived here yesterday morning from Santa Martha to re-enforce the opposition at Banco, but the result of the news from there induced this re-enforcing party to lay in wait for, and if possible to destroy or capture, Lopez on his return to this place from Banco.
The keeper of the hotel where I was lodging arrived here this morning, in a small canoe from Antioquia. He reports that all the people of that State are opposed to President Mosquera, and that by this time have sent about fifteen thousand men—joined by the forces of Santan-der—to capture or drive Mosquera from Bogota; and that they had placed well-fastened chains across the Magdalena River, so as to prevent any boats from passing up or down this river, thus cutting off the forces of General Lopez, and all other aid from reaching General Mosquera at Bogota.
It is evident that General Lopez, not being able to force his way through these insurmountable barriers, and not having sufficient force to hold Banco and take the custom-house at Santa Martha from the exasperated and resolute opposition, his victory is a source of weakness instead of strength to General Mosquera, who is surrounded on all sides by overwhelming forces, who are determined to crush him or perish in the attempt.
The following extracts from my unofficial letter of the 31st ultimo, to the American consul at Carthagena, will show you the caution which I observe in this emergency:
The time has come for every United States officer here to be on the alert, and as true sentinels at the advanced posts we must carefully watch and diligently study the progress and tendency of the terrible drama that is being played around us without being observed by either of the prompters or scene-shifters directing its operations, so as to be enabled to judge in time of its influence on the lives and property of this people and on the trade and commerce of ours.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.