During that time several thousand troops were in camp near Carmargo, and the men of the engineer company learned that they were, by the line of the army, styled: "the pick and shovel brigade". Their officers advised them not to care for this epithet but, "take it easy, continue to endeavor to become model infantry, and engraft on that a fair knowledge of the duties of the engineer soldier". They were assured that "for heavy work", details would have to be made from the line of the army; and these details would, for the time, constitute the real "pick and shovel brigade" under the control of engineer officers, assisted by trained engineer soldiers.
Whilst detained at Carmargo instruction in the school of the engineer soldier was kept up, and infantry drills were constantly practiced.
We landed at Brazos on the 12th of October, remained at that point for several days, proceeded thence to the mouth of the Rio Grande and arrived at Carmargo on the 2nd of November. There the company was delayed for several weeks because transportation for the engineer train to the headquarters of the Army at Monterey, was not then available.
The Company left Carmargo for Brazos, on the 29th of November, under orders to proceed to Tampico by sea, but was ordered to return to Matamoros with a portion of its tools, and march, via Victoria, to Tampico the bulk of its train to be transported to the latter place by water.