when Southern arms were powerless to do so. I had many propositions made to me last spring to furnish provisions by the boat-load if it could be paid for in cotton, when we needed them so much to provide the garrison in Vicksburg against a siege.
Arms and ammunition could have been obtained in the same way, and I have reason to believe that one or more gun-boats could have been bought. We all know that cotton has failed to produce the political effect that was expected of it, and it would be folly to cling to an idea from consistency's sake. The enemy has and will, in spite of military surveillance, obtain large quantities of our cotton, and upon their own terms, if we attempt to suppress the trade entirely. But if our Government would regulate and control the trade-require articles of necessity to be delivered in our lines before the cotton was removed, and arrest all who attempt to trade in Federal notes, it would revive our currency and greatly lessen our expenses, while it would greatly enhance the comforts of our soldiers. Blankets, shoes, boots, hats, bacon, salt, and
cotton-cards will be delivered in large quantities in our lines at one-tenth present prices if our quartermaster and commissaries were allowed to pay for them in cotton. I inclose to you an order* on this subject that I prepared with great care, with I think does not conflict with the law, and which I think would have enabled us to control the trade. It was, however, disapproved by General Johnston and recalled.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. R. CHALMERS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Dalton, Ga., December 16, 1863.
Maj. Gen. JOSEPH WHEELER,
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding desires that you send a sufficient party, under the command of an intelligent officer, to make a close reconnaissance of the enemy at Cleveland and Charleston. Promptness and celerity are needed in this movement.
The lieutenant-general deems your return important as soon as you can ascertain that no large force of the enemy has penetrated Northern Georgia. The War Department has directed that the brigade of General Hodge shall be ordered back, which will be done as soon as it can be spared.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEORGE WM. BRENT,
RICHMOND, December 16, 1863.
General J. E. JOHNSTON:
You will turn over the immediate command of the Army of the Mississippi to Lieutenant-General Polk, and proceed to Dalton and
*Not found as an inclosure; but reference is probably to General Orders, No. 71, November 10, 1863, from headquarters Cavalry in North Mississippi, which, in obedience to orders from General Johnston, was revoked by General Orders, No. 77, November 18, 1863, from headquarters Cavalry in North Mississippi.