within a reasonable time, our prospects of obtaining supplies will be gloomy. I therefore trust that officers and agents in the interior intrusted with the transportation and purchase of cotton will be instructed to get it forward without delay.
We have at present, at the mouth of the river, two English steamers loaded with army supplies, purchased upon the faith of the Government to deliver cotton at Matamoras to meet the purchase. Two others are daily expected, one with the arms of which you write, all expecting to receive return loads of cotton. it is hardly necessary for me to say that a failure injures our credit both at home and in Europe, and will materially retard our operations, while a prompt compliance with these parties would establish for us a credit that would insure all we need. Two of the vessels before mentioned will go to Nassau in a short time if some arrangement is not made. I dislike to be forced to the necessity of impressment, but it does appear to me that we should resort to any means within our power to sustain at this critical period the credit of the Government. If necessary, I shall impress to purchase arms, and hope to be sustained.
We have news of a brilliant victory at Port Hudson; also at Vicksburg. Passengers from New Orleans report the arrival of wounded by thousands. I hope it may be true.
In regard to the express, I have determined to discontinue the present arrangement on the 15th instant, and run a special express when necessary. I think it will be more expeditious and more economical.
I will keep you fully advised of all matters of interest at this place.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major and Quartermaster, C. S. Army.
[Sub-Inclosure Numbers 2.]
OFFICE CHIEF QUARTERMASTER,
Fort Brown, Tex., June 11, 1863.
Major B. BLOOMFIELD,
Chief Quartermaster, &c., San Antonio:
MAJOR: Yours, inclosing circular orders from Quartermaster-General for distribution, received.
General Bee and staff left on Sunday for Louisiana, and I am busily engaged in closing up my business preparatory to joining them. Before leaving, however, I desire to arrange all business connected with the department, and to provide for the liquidation of outstanding debts contracted before my arrival, most of which were payable in specie. You are not aware, perhaps, of the fact that it has been customary here to purchase forage, wood, &c., for specie, payable from the fund realized from the specie tax on cotton crossing the Rio Grande. The order prohibiting the collection of this specie tax or exchange has left the department indebted to a great many different persons in small amounts, and it is not only a source of great annoyance, but materially interferes with the procurement of these supplies, parties being unwilling to continue to furnish until paid. As you are aware, I have no means of getting specie but through Major Hart, who, up to this time, has utterly failed to accomplish anything; only 75 bales of cotton on his account has reached this place up to this time, and his agent, as well as myself, know nothing of what efforts are being made in the interior. Under these circumstances, I have determined to make an effort to consolidate these small debts by negotiating a loan based upon cotton delivered to me in the interior, and enter into contracts by