them as to the wisdom of some of the measures adopted, it affords me pleasure to testify to their ability as merchants and previous success in commercial pursuits, their purity of motive, singleness of purpose, and the self-sacrificing spirit in which they have undertaken the management of the business.
Having been absent from this post in a great measure since my assignment to cotton duty, I am humble to impart such information which you may desire. The agents for some time back have had no money, and I think made but little effort to extend their purchases. The certificates which they offer are unavailable and undesirable. I think large purchases could still be made in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Northern Texas at 15 to 25 per cent., payable in Confederate notes or bonds, and, if desirable with the Government to extend its purchases in those sections, I will undertake the investment of such an amount as you may forward for the purpose on such terms as may be directed. General Smith has given me no orders. Up to this time I have neither bought nor sold a bale of cotton, nor made a contract of any description. All business referred to the bureau has been determined and acted upon with the assistance of my friend and able representative, Captain W. C. Black. Our efforts have been chiefly to get the proper data as to what had been done, what ought to be done, and save the property liable to loss. To facilitate transportation and put cottons in repair, $1,000,000 should be furnished the bureau. You can forward it to Captain W. C. Black, and hold me responsible for the correctness of his accounts. A competent person has been sent to inspect the condition of all Government cottons located upon plantations, and take steps to protect the interests of the Government. The estates east of the Washita have in many instances been abandoned by the owners, and the crops left behind look neglected and exposed.
If any information desired by you has been omitted, I will gladly supply the deficiency. If not informed in regard to me personally, you are respectfully referred to the Honorable J. P. Benjamin, Colonel L. B. Northrop, or His Excellency President Davis.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. BROADWELL,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Camden, Ark., December 26, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER:
GENERAL: Recent communications have been received from Lieutenant-Colonel Broadwell and Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchins, inclosing several orders and communications from your headquarters in reference to the removal of cotton, and other matters concerning cotton, and contracts based on cotton.
In relation to this subject, I am instructed by the lieutenant-general commanding to inform you that by Special Orders, Numbers 198, department headquarters, the operations of the cotton office are independent of your control, and were so intended by that order to be. You have no further connection with that subject other than to render such military assistance as may be needed by Colonel Hutchings for carrying out the objects for which that office was created. You were relieved from all control of the subject by your own request. You will, therefore, issue no orders interfering with the cotton office in any manner, except where some great emergency renders it necessary, in your judgment, for mili-