supplies from Kentucky, if you felt authorized to trade cotton or sugar for meat. I have not hesitated to make such contracts in relation to cotton in exchange for subsistence stores, and, so far as the Department can authorize, you are empowered to employ or sanction a similar exchange with the people of Kentucky, or with well-affected people able to negotiate for supplies from the North. A similar power has occasionally, with the sanction of the Department, been exercised by General Pemberton, and has been extended to General E. K. Smith. It is necessary, and I doubt not will meet the approval of both Congress and the people.
With high esteem,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
RICHMOND, April 17, 1863.
Colonel L. B. NORTHROP, Commissary-General, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: The commissary agents engaged in collecting supplies in the country bordering on the Cumberland River for the Army of Tennessee report, as the result of inquiries they were directed to make on the subject, that a considerable amount of bacon could be drawn from the counties in Kentucky north of the Cumberland, not now accessible to us, and delivered within our lines in exchange for cotton, if such a trade were permitted by the Government. The proposition informally submitted by them was to exchange 1 pound of cotton for 3 pounds of bacon, the places of delivery to be designated by the Government agents. At this rate of exchange, they express the opinion that, within easy reach of the Cumberland River, there could be collected from 500,000 to 1,000,000 pounds bacon, and, if the proved successful, the quantity might be greatly increased by enlarging the scope of operations. If the Government holds cotton in Northern Alabama or Northern Georgia at points convenient to railroad transportation, there would be no serious difficulty in fulfilling its part of such contracts in the delivery of cotton by rail and wagon conveyance at the points agreed upon. Similar contracts might possibly be made for deliveries on the Tennessee River and at Columbia, Tenn. At the latter place the supplies would be drawn from the vicinity of Clarksville, Tenn., and the nature of the contract should be changed from one of barter by the Government to an interior blockade trade, to be carried on at the risk of the contracting parties, they bringing to that point supplies for the army at specified rates for the privilege of taking cotton through our lines.
I respectfully present this subject for your consideration suggesting, if it meets your approval, that you procure the necessary authority for opening such a trade as early as practicable, under your direction. I would further suggest that the authority be made discretionary, as far as deemed advisable, both as regards the nature and terms of the contracts.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN J. WALKER,
Major and Commissary of Subsistence, Army of Tennessee.
This is in accordance with the policy long advocated by this bureau, and is respectfully referred to Major [F. G.] Ruffin.
L. B. NORTHROP,