No. 279.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Nelson.

No. 314.]

Sir: I transmit for your information a copy of a communication of the 17th instant, addressed to this Department by the Secretary of War, relative to a recent raid into Texas by cattle-thieves from Mexico. You will take occasion to mention the subject to the minister for foreign affairs, and to point out the expediency on the part of the Mexican authorities of endeavoring to check such depredations. If this should not soon be done, the exasperation of the immediate sufferers will inevitably extend to the rest of their countrymen, and retaliation will be demanded in a tone which it may be difficult to resist.

I am, &c.,

Hamilton Fish.

Mr. Belknap to Mr. Fish.

Sir: I have had prepared, and transmit herewith, for your information, a copy of a recent report from the Department of Texas, of depredations upon stock in Texas by Mexican cattle-thieves.

Very respectfully, &c.,

Secretary of War.

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Texas:

Sir: I have the honor to report that, on the 6th instant, information was brought me by Mr. Victor Morel, post-guide, that a party of Mexican cattle-thieves had stolen a large number of cattle from the stock-range and ranches in this vicinity, and would endeavor to cross them into Mexico. Thinking he could capture them, I furnished Mr. Morel with a detachment from B Company, Ninth U. S. Cavalry, Lance-Sergt. George Bruce, Corporal Jacob Hicks, and four privates. Leaving the post at about 7.30 o’clock p.m., on the 6th, the detachment proceeded in a westerly direction toward the Guadalupe ranche, in the vicinity of which it was expected to come upon the thieves, with the stolen herd. Marching until about 2 o’clock a.m. on the 7th, our party went into camp until daylight, when they resumed their march. At about 7 a.m., near the Rio Grande, they came upon the party, who had left the road, and with the stolen herd were moving across the country in the direction of the river. They had halted, and, with their horses saddled, were cooking breakfast. They numbered eleven men. Immediately on coming in sight of the party, Mr. Morel, with his escort, charged upon the thieves, who, springing upon their horses, “broke” for the chaparral, after exchanging a few shots. The horse of the leader of the gang, with saddle, bridle, blankets, and ammunition, was captured. This horse is the property of Julio Hinojose, a citizen of Comargo, Mexico, known to have been the leader of the party of thieves. Pursuit was made through the chaparral, by our party, but being in a dense thicket, the Mexicans, being naturally superior bushmen, succeeded in escaping. Our party then turned their attention to the herd. Fifty-nine head of cattle were recaptured. The whole herd might possibly number one hundred and fifty head.

During the time the firing was being done, quite a number stampeded and were lost in the heavy bottoms and thickets.

The party then returned to this post, bringing the fifty-nine head of stock and the horse and equipments of the leader. They arrived here on the eve of the 7th, having in the [Page 646] twenty-four hours marched over sixty miles of very rough country, with very little or no grass and no water. The captured stock was turned over to the civil authorities of Rio Grande City; copy of receipt inclosed. It is probable that the remainder of this herd were eventually crossed or found their way to Mexico. I inclose a copy of a letter sent yesterday to the authorities at Comargo. The success of this expedition is largely due to the intelligence, discretion, and coolness of Mr. Morel. Too much credit, also, cannot be given the detachment of soldiers, particularly Lance-Sergeant Bruce and Corporal Wicks. They seconded Mr. Morel in every way, and during the fire were prudent and cool. Had they been as skilled as are these Mexican thieves in bushwhacking, the whole party of thieves would have been captured.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain 24th Infantry, commanding post.

Received of Victor Morel, for Captain A. Sheridan, fifty-nine (59) bures, captured from cattle-thieves.

Sheriff Starr Co.

The Ayuntamienta, Comargo, Mexico:

I have the honor to call your attention to the following facts: Within the last three days a large herd of cattle, stolen from ranches and from the stock-range in this vicinity, has been crossed into the republic of Mexico by thieves from your side of the river. A party sent from here succeeded in recapturing sixty head of cattle, but were not able to get any of the thieves. One horse, said to be the property of Julio Hinojosa, a citizen of Comargo, Mexico, was captured, with saddle and bridle, and is now in possession of the authorities on this side the river.

One hundred and fifty head of cattle, I am informed from reliable authority, were crossed some fifteen miles below here, and are now in Mexico.

I submit these facts for the consideration of the authorities in Mexico, with a view that something may be done to bring these thieves to justice, and that the cattle may, if possible, be returned, as we propose and are doing all in our power to prevent these depredations.

I ask that our exertions may be seconded in some way by the authorities of Mexico.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Captain 24th Infantry, U. S. A., commanding post.

Respectfully forwarded to the headquarters Military Division of the Missouri, for the information of the Lieutenant-General commanding.

Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.

The especial attention of the Government has been so frequently called to the depredations of Mexicans on the frontier of Texas, that the undersigned simply submits these additional facts.

Lieutenant-General commanding.

Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.


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