the owners, who will naturally delay often until too late; but instructions should be given and responsibility in the matter cast on all the local commanders.
It should be a special aim, likewise, to break up all the plantations being worked by the disaffected or mercenary under the auspices of the enemy; to capture and remove the negroes back, and to punish the disloyal holders of such plantations. Indeed, considering the liability of the banks to be visited and robbed by the enemy, I think policy requires, as far as my be, the removal of the planters with their slaves back from the river at least 8 or 10 miles, so as to make the whole length of the river useless to them and accessible to our flying artillery,without danger of information to the enemy. The country back from the river, on the west side, is peculiarly favorable for such operations as are recommended, and I feel assured, under your official supervision, the river may be as effectually closed to the enemy's trade, and they as much prevented from obtaining supplies of cotton,as if we had continued to hold Vicksburg.
Great moral and political results must follow from thus practically exhibiting the impossibility of commanding the Mississippi while held by the gallant people of the South, unless on the condition of their independence and amity.
With high esteem, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY, Honey Springs, August 3, 1863.
Major W. B. BLAIR,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, District of Arkansas:
MAJOR: I am in receipt of information, which I consider reliable, that a force is being collected at Fort Scott, Kans., for the purpose of aggressive movements in this direction. Am not in a condition now to attack Fort Gibson. I have not sufficient artillery, nor men enough to take it without. I have not yet heard from General Bankhead. The ammunition which I received from San Antonio turns out to be very bad. The powder looks well when first opened, but attracts moisture to such an extent that exposure to damp weather converts it into a paste. The troops have no confidence in it. The small portion of a better quality is exhausted. The enemy is apprehensive of an attack, and keeps about 30 miles of the river picketed and patrolled. I think he will not make a move until he receives re-enforcements.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, No. 35.
Shreveport, La., August 3, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel W. A. Broadwell is announced as chief of the Cotton Bureau of the Trans-Mississippi Department. All Government agents for the purchase,collection,or other disposition of Government cotton are directed to report to and receive their instructions from Lieutenant-Colonel Broadwell.
By command of Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith:
S. S. ANDERSON,