War of the Rebellion: Serial 021 Page 0864 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXVII.

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any shipments of cotton you may be enabled to make to any usual port in England, France, or Spain.

I am, respectfully, dear, sir, your obedient servant,



RICHMOND, VA., November 12, 1862.


[Via Jackson, Miss.]:

See that the salt mines on the Teche are adequately protected.


Adjutant and Inspector General.


Richmond, November 12, 1862.

Lieutenant-General PEMBERTON,

Commanding, Jackson, Miss.:

GENERAL: This Department is still annoyed with complaints of seizures of private property at Vicksburg and in Louisiana by the agents and officers of the quartermaster and commissary departments. Letters and oral communications describe an Algerine administration there rather than one of a Government acting under a constitution that guarantees rights of property.

The Department does not adopt these statements as exact, for they disclose a good deal of temper and irritation. But they authorize the Department to state anew its principle of action, and to ask you for circumspection and vigilance.

Necessity alone will authorize an interference with private property or the freedom of commerce among the citizens of the States. The necessity should be apparent, and the use of other means for supply than the invasion of private right difficult an precarious. It is not enough that you may attain you ends more conveniently by taking private property. The taking of private property must be a necessary means of reaching the object. It is the duty of quartermasters and commissaries to use the ordinary means to procure their supplied. Activity, energy, and fidelity would probably enable them to do this. But one would conclude from the letters and statements that come to this Department that they repose quietly and lazily on the highways until private enterprise brings the resources they stand in need of, and then they use the strong hand in securing them for the Government. Violence is represented as the principal instrument employed to carry on the administration. Not only do the charges impugn the order of the administration, but its fidelity likewise.

The subordinates are charged as being in league with certain traders and dealers, and as leading the power of the Government to obstruct those who compete with them and in advancing the interests of their Confederates.

This Department looks to you to impose upon the administration of that department the impress of personal honor, and that injustice, oppression, and partiality shall appear in no portion of it.

With consideration and respect, your obedient servant,


Assistant Secretary of War, for the Secretary of War.