They were sick soldiers left back at Nashville, and had recovered their health, and coming up to join their regiments. The War Department ought to send General Mitchel 20,000 more troops to this place. There is not enough of men here for safety, that is, to hold the place, if there is as many as is stated below us, but no one cal tell what a day will bring forth in these times.
This town is strong secesh; but few Union men to be found here or near here. I write more particular at this time to let you know what a fine chance there is to make money in buying cotton. If you had of come right ahead when I wrote you could of cleared $10,000 dollars by this time. Clark, of Cleveland, bought sixty bales and shipped it, and it is now about at New York, and it will make him over $4,000. He bought it at Nashville or near there. He come down here a days or two ago, and I gave him an introduction yesterday to General O. M. Mitchel, and the general promised him transportation by wagons to the railroad by paying a fair price and then to carry it into Nashville Railroad. Teams come through loaded with commissary stores, then return with cotton. Clark is obeying for Comstock, Bartlett and Smith, and I think D. W. Deshler has an interest in it as a silent partner. General Mitchel has a
son-in-law in New York City that is a coming here in a few days to operate, and he will be backed up by some New York house.
The general said to Clark he would let him buy here; that there was a million of dollars' worth of cotton in this county, and that there was enough for both of them. I do not know whether he would let any one else come in now or not; perhaps he would, but I wish you could come down before he did and I could arranged it for you nicely. I hardly know what to say to you now, but I do think you could make money. You would have to let some one here do the buying and then some one that is acquainted with the army could do the work, and all you could do would be just to see to it a little, and have it shipped in some other person's name until it got to Nashville; there it would be safe. Now I only suggest this to you; act on your own judgment. If I was out of army and had funds, with the knowledge I have of the matter, I could make more money at buying cotton than by grain I know certain.
I have been very sick, but I am better. How is all the good people at home?
Your obedient servant,
J. R. PAUL.
HUNTSVILLE, ALA., May 4, 1862.
DEAR BROTHER: I got started that day you left at 3 o'clock and we got to Fayetteville that night, and I got through the next day and reported to General Mitchel. He has not put me to work as yet,but I suppose he will to-morrow. I told him a little about quartermasters, and he has relieved Bell and Hastings both, and at my suggestion he has put Captain Slocum in the quartermaster's department.
Huntsville is a nice town. The train on the other route has not got through yet and this is Sunday. No one has heard of them. Proctor, they say, was taken prisoner. He was a good ways ahead of his train. General Mitchell's son and about 200 of sick soldiers that was coming from Nashville to join their regiments was taken prisoners at Pulaski, on the other route. They let them go on parole.
General Mitchel's con same in yesterday with a furlough signed by Morgan. He cannot take up arms until the is exchanged.
Clark came through with us. I gave him an introduction to the general, and the general will give him transportation back for his cotton to