ON BOARD THE MAGELLAN,
In front of the Rio del Norte, October 21, 1863.
Commanding at Brownsville, Tex.;
GENERAL: I regret infinitely having received the communication which you addressed to me concerning the Nancy Dawson; but I am under the obligation of following the instructions which have been given me.
I have the honor of being, general, respectfully, your very devoted servant,
DUVAL, Captain, Commanding the Magellan.
[P. S.] -I shall hereafter find myself under the necessity of not taking any cognizance of any letters which may have reference to vessels laden with arms, and request you to indorse on the letters which you may write me that they are not relative to that matter.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., October 13, 1863.
Honorable P. W. GRAY:
SIR: Your letter to October 3 was received a few days since. It was not sooner answered in consequence of the receipt of a second letter from yourself, announcing Colonel [A. W.] Terrell's department for Shreveport. I find Colonel Terrell averse to taking charge of the cotton bureau in Texas, but anxious to be associated with the investigating committee in that State. The order has been issued assigning him to that duty.
I have been embarrassed by the difficulty of finding a suitable person to take charge of the cotton bureau in your State, and by an unwillingness to connect themselves with the business by those whose position, integrity, and capacity fit them for the discharge of the duty.
There is no field offering a greater opportunity for doing good, restoring confidence, and benefiting the army than filled by the chief of the cotton bureau in Texas. I know the position has its difficulties and its objectionable features; that the state of the public mind and the tone of public feeling is such that every man jealous of his reputation hesitates about having his name associated with any Government transportation in cotton.
I feel and appreciate the self-sacrificing spirit and the patriotic motives which have induced you to accept the charge of the cotton bureau in your State.
I have entire confidence in your ability and the success of your administration, and thank you for relieving me from a situation of uncertainty which has not only embarrassed me, but seriously impeded the operations of the department. I have consulted with Colonel Terrell and Major Minter. The former will deliver this letter to you in person; the latter, after arranging the business of his department, will leave for Houston and will assist you in organizing and putting in work the machinery of the bureau.
In regard to the first proposition submitted by you in your letter, I agree with you that the administration of the bureau should be characterized by some fixed policy. The confidence of the people has been lost