power hereafter, as I have heretofore, to aid you in preventing any commercial intercourse with Norfolk except such as is permitted by the Secretary of the Treasury under special permits granted in conformity to the printed regulations concerning internal and coastwise intercourse, of which I sent you a copy. I have not, since I received those regulations, granted permission to any vessel or any merchandise to leave this post for Norfolk except in compliance with them.
The terms of instructions quoted by you as having been received by the Navy Department are so broad that I desire in order to understand the interpretation you put on them to make a few inquiries for my own guidance. They state that "supplies may be conveyed to the troops but not to the people of Norfolk."
Do you understand this declaration to include supplies of merchandise cleared for Norfolk under the regulations referred to and intended for the people and not for the troops?
The instructions also declare "that there must be no traffic - no return cargo." Do you understand that you are to prevent the traffic carried on under special permits from the Secretary of the Treasury and in conformity to the regulations?
The Marblehead was allowed to return from Norfolk with a cargo under a permit and under a rule prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury. If another vessel with a "return cargo" should, under this rule, be cleared for a Northern port by a permit from the commander of the military department, would you consider it your duty to stop her under your instructions from the Navy Department?
If, under your instructions, "no traffic" is allowed, what "trade" in or shipments of cotton or other merchandise, conducted in pursuance of said regulations, are referred to and authorized by the order of the Secretary of the Navy, page 8 of the pamphlet edition of the regulations?
A gentleman has exhibited to me a permit from the Secretary of the Treasury, on the certificate and request of the Secretary of War, to carry a large quantity of supplies to the people of Norfolk. Among other items are 2,000 tons of coal, of which only 160 tons have been delivered. Do you consider your instructions as requiring you to stop the remaining 1,840 tons of coal and the other supplies enumerated in the permit?
I make these inquiries not only because I desire to understand your own views distinctly, but because the instructions you have received, if taken literally, seem to me to be inconsistent and in conflict with the regulations which both the War and Navy Departments have sanctioned. In a word, I do not see how any traffic should be provided for and regulated if "no traffic" is allowed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN A. DIX,
HDQRS. DEPT. OF VIRGINIA, SEVENTH ARMY CORPS,
Fort Monroe, Va., October 8, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: The condition of the people of Norfolk and Portsmouth is such as to demand the immediate and decisive action of the Government. It is fully set forth in my letter to you of the 4th September and in my