I have no right to criticize the orders of my superiors, nor to I seek to do so, but surely when I am ordered to discharge an onerous and intensely disagreeable duty, and one not appertaining to my official rank, I may be allowed to discuss the effects of the carrying out of those orders in all its phases, and that when I construe them in the broad sense of all its bearings on our present and future position, I will not be considered as wanting in respect.
In my opinion, the Bellow contract has not a spark of vitality; it has been dead for months; and no liberal, impartial arbiter would say that our public faith is in any way involved. It is on proof that the contract was hawked around Paris and London for months, and finally invested in as in a lottery. The agents of the house of Bellot owe thousands of dollars to our own citizens for moneys advanced on drafts drawn by them on Bellot in Paris. There was no such house, and in a garret in Bordeaux Bellot was found, who protested, of course, the drafts. Would not out own citizens, Duff and McCarthy, Laranberg, &c., have a just and legal right to stop this cotton in my hands before it leaves the State? I think they would, and hope they will do so.
I have the special order of the general commanding to exempt the cotton of McCarthy, Clements, and Attill from impressment, on the ground that they have improved goods. Yet we have to pay for these goods in cotton as soon as we get them, and at enormous prices, fully 50 per cent. more than we can buy them for in the market. Surely, if they can pass their cotton free of impressment, Droege, Octling & Co., Marks & Co., Woodhouse & Co., who have advanced their goods months ago, and are still ready to advance more, should have the same privilege. I am also informed to-day that Angus McNeil, a planter, has a special permit to export his cotton individually. This gives me great pleasure, for he has been my friend for twenty years, but its effect will be on the public faith of the Government, and its results be felt, perhaps, on the battle-field. I demand from all planters 20 per cent. of their cotton; this leaves them four-fifths of its value for the purchase of supplies; but to make exceptions to this rule brings discredit on my acts, and I respectfully ask that no more exceptions be allowed.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General Provisional Army, Confederate States.
[AUGUST 27, 1863.-For Bankhead to Turner, in reference to joining Steele, see Series I, Vol. XXII, Part II, p.981.]
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., August 28, 1863.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,
Commanding District Western Louisiana, Alexandria:
GENERAL: I am directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to inclose the within telegraphic reports from the operator at Farmersville.* The general desires that you will hurry up your force as fast as possible to meet the enemy, as you have the only available troops at present. The minute-men have been called out to assist in resisting