War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0457 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

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HOUSTON, TEX.,

November 29, 1863.

Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,

Chief of Staff:

GENERAL: Inclosed I send, for the information of the lieutenant- general commanding Trans- Mississippi Department, copy of an order which I have issued in pursuance of his instructions to turn over all cotton, whether bought for special purposes or not, to Messrs. Bouldin, Riggs, and Walker.* I have the honor to state that soon after my arrival in this district, two contracts were entered into, one with Nelson Clements, and one with E. B. Nichos, by Major Hart, for arms and army supplies, to be imported by these gentlemen from Europe, to be paid for in cotton on delivery of the supplies at Brownsville. These contracts were submitted to me for my approval, and I stated that it was not my duty to approve of contracts made by Major Hart. It was represented to me, however, by the contractors, that without the official approval of the commanding general of this district they could not obtain in Europe the necessary credit to enable them to purchase these supplies; there upon I affixed my official approval to these contracts, and upon the faith of it they have fulfilled them; that is, Mr. Clements fulfilled his some time ago, and E. B. Nichols, who made his contract subsequently to Mr. Clements, has partly fulfilled his contract, as I am informed. The Enfield rifles now issued to the troops here and those sent to Shreveport were a portion of these supplies sent in by Mr. Clements.

Naturally anxious to redeem my pledged faith, I called upon Major Hart some months ago to know what preparations he had made to fulfill his part of these contracts, and was informed by him that, in consequence of prior engagements, he could do nothing toward fulfilling them. I therefore ordered my chief quartermaster, Major B. Bloomfield, to purchase an amount of cotton which would be sufficient to meet engagements made in the faith of my name, and he had placed about 1,150 bales of cotton on wheels between here and the Rio Grande, when they were directed by the lieutenant- general commanding to be turned over to the gentlemen above mentioned. I am aware of the confusion and difficulty which must prevail to some extent in the administrating of our public affairs under our present national embarrassment, but I cannot help feeling humiliated by the attitude I am forced to occupy in these transactions, and, as in addition to this the enemy is now upon our coast, and my whole attention must be given to matters strictly military, I respectfully ask to be relieved from all connection with the cotton business, and that the lieutenant- general commanding will appoint some person other that myself to transact it in future.

I have heard that the arms were to be paid for by some cotton of Major Hart, impressed by General Bee for that purpose. I know not how much, if any, of the cargo sent in by Mr. Clements has been paid for, but in justice to those gentlemen, Messrs. Clements and Nichols, who I have every reason to believe have most honorably fulfilled their contracts, I have the honor to request that the agent appointed by the lieutenant- general be instructed to make such arrangements as will secure the fulfillment of these contracts on our part.

I am, general,

J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,

Major- General, Commanding.

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*Inclosure not found.

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