ment could not be made in C. S. Treasury notes, has been relied upon as more than sufficient to meet all requirements. Its use has been practiced in various channels, and in a variety of modes which were designed to procure and apply sufficient in quantity to meet all the demands of the Government. Some of these modes have been successful, others have proved failures, and the result is that the expectations of the planters, who have ever shown themselves willing to contribute their cotton if satisfied it would be faithfully and judiciously used for the benefit of the Government. We do not propose to lay censure upon any one, but refer only to the fact that the chief cause of failure has been the uncertainty attending all cotton operations, in consequence of the various and conflicting orders that have from time to time seemed necessary, and the existence of numberless Government agents engaged in the acquirement and removal of cotton, who have, by competition with each other and with private contractors, caused the rate of sale and transportation to advance to such exorbitant rates as to defeat their own efficiency. Under these circumstances, in order to procure the amount of cotton required by the Government for the fulfillment of contracts already existing, and the procuring of army supplies still needed, it will be apparent to every one that some plan must be adopted that will secure uniformity, efficiency, and permanency, that the faith of the Government may be maintained, supplies of arms, clothing, medicines, &c., for our army in the field may be procured, and planters and other private citizens engaged in legitimate trade may have an equitable and permanent basis on which to operate.
Lieutenant General E. Kirby Sith, who is charged with the military defenses of this department, has, under the authority of the impressment act, declared the use of the cotton of the country to meet the wants of the Government a military necessity, and in order to secure it in such manner as will best supply these wants, and at the same time be liberal and just to the citizen, has, with the approval of the Secretary of War, placed the duty of procuring cotton and regulating its transportation in the hands of a special office. The undersigned have been selected to discharge the duties of this office. We are old citizens of the State, our every interest of family and property identified with it, and the cotton trade has engaged our attention for many years. We have accepted this trust not as a matter of choice, but from a sense of duty, hoping to accomplish to some considerable extent the work expected of us, and relying on the frank co- operation of the planters, many of whom are personally acquainted with us. We have the assurance of Lieutenant- General Smith and of Major- General Magruder of their assistance and confidence. The policy we propose will be liberal and just to the planters, and will, we hope, secure their aid in meeting the wants of the army. Our plan is to purchase one- half of the cotton of the planter, or other holder, and, on its delivery at a Government depot or other place agreed upon, to give an exemption against military impressment for a like quantity, Under this exemption, cotton can be held or exported at the pleasure of the owner, and teams engaged in its transportation will also be free from impressment. For the cotton sold to us we will give certificates at its specie value, to be paid for in cotton bonds or such other equivalent as Congress may provide. We had several interviews with Senator [William S.] Oldham and several of our Representatives in Congress before they left for Richmond, who assured us that they would secure such legislation as would meet our views in this particular. To pay for cotton in Confederate money would only increase the amount in
31 R- VOL XXVI, PT II