War of the Rebellion: Serial 026 Page 0939 Chapter XXX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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HEADQUARTERS,

Wilmington, N. C., March 23, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: The steam-tug Mariner, formerly the most powerful tug in this river, has come in from Nassau, her owners having put her to blockade running. She is not suitable for this purpose, carrying but very little cargo, while, her boilers and engines being very good, she is absolutely necessary here for the navy first and then for us. She can readily be fitted into a powerful gunboat. I consider her essential for the defense here, especially in connection with the gunboats building, as a tender, and also in connection with the valuable cargoes now arriving in Government steamers. With her we shall be able to save much in case of accidents which might happen to any of our vessels from the enemy's fire. She is also needed for amy transportation. Please to show this to the Secretary of the Navy who will, I hope, at once order her purchase. Flag-Officer Lynch concurs with me in the necessity of this and will doubtless report at once. If the Navy Department does not want the boat we certainly do. I shall not permit her to leave unless ordered. Great efforts no doubt will be made to procure a permit, but I beg to refer you to my letter of this date relative to blockade running. The boat could carry but very few bales. Her engines, boiler, and hull are too valuable to permit them to be sacrificed in order that a party of speculators should make money.

Very respectfully,

W. H. C. WHITING,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS,

Wilmington, N. C., March 23, 1863.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I will add to my letters of this date some considerations on the subject of the blockade running, to show how this matter of private exportation of cotton is affecting our currency. Vessels owned abroad come in with cargo, which sells for nearly $ 1,000,000 Confederate currency, and for $ 50,000 Confederate currency they buy a load of cotton, as much as they can carry, to take back. The balance of proceeds they can afford to expend for exchange and gold at enormous prices, and still make a handsome profit. Each vessel that comes in instead of producing the effect by increase of supply of diminution of prices actually increases prices and the current value of gold. I can illustrate this by an example, a small one, but showing the whole business, which has come to my knowledge: A man brought in six demijohns of gin, which cost him in Nassau $ 24. He sold them here for $ 900. This man could afford to give $ 9 for $ 1 of specie in gold, which he did, and then make $ 76 profit, a good business for a common sailor. The profits made by these people are not expended here; they are invested in gold and abroad. Every single bale of cotton that goes abroad on other than Government account to establish Government credit abroad does us injury at home. I know there is a law prohibiting the exportation of cotton. I am not