tary reasons. In such cases the orders must be temporary in their character, and, if possible, before issuing them, you should confer with Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchins, and in every instance promptly transmit to department headquarters a copy of such order, accompanied by a statement of the reasons for its issuance.
The communication of Major Bloomfield by your direction dated December 17, 1863, addressed to Colonel Hutchings, a copy of which is inclosed to you,* is wholly unauthorized, and in contravention of Special Orders, Numbers 198. All contracts based upon cotton, by the terms of that order, must be submitted to the cotton offices for their action. You have no authority to constitute any exceptions to this rule, or in any way to modify it nor does Colonel Hutchins report through or receive instructions from Major Bloomfield. The cotton offices for their action. You have no authority to constitute any exceptions to this rule, or in any way to modify, it nor does Colonel Hutchings report rough or receive instructions from Major Bloomfield. The cotton offices alone have the management of that subject, and it was the object of their creation.
In Special Orders, Numbers 343, from your headquarters, paragraphs occur conflicting with Special Orders, Numbers 198; in fact your order practically suspends the operations of the cotton office, while the last clause seeks to clothe Major Hart with the power to carry out cotton upon reasons satisfactory to you. I am instructed on this point to inform you that Major Hart is subordinate to Colonel Hutchins, and reports to and receives his orders through Colonel Hutchins, who is independent of your control. Such authority, therefore, attempted to be conferred on Major Hart, without reference to Colonel Hutchins, is useless, and calculated to increase the confusion already created by the multiplicity of contradictory orders issued on the subject of cotton. One of the main objects of Special Orders, Numbers 198, was to put an end to the issuance of orders on the subject of cotton by those who had no legitimate control of the subject.
The commanding general does not wish to be understood as depriving you of any power that you may deem it essential for the public good to exercise, in carrying out your military operations, but requires of you that, in every instance in which you may deem it absolutely necessary to destroy or interfere with the removal or transit of cotton in any manner, you will make such order temporary in its character and confer with Colonel Hutchins on the subject, if possible, before issuing the order, and in every case forward without delay a copy of the order to department headquarters, with the reasons for its issuance.
The commanding general is thus explicit in calling your attention to this subject because of the vast importance of sustaining and aiding the cotton office in all of its operations, so that supplies may be more promptly obtained and the credit of the Government in foreign markets be maintained. Should their efforts be defeated by contradictory and inconsistent orders, or by frequent interference, it is plain that they cannot comply with their pledges; their usefulness will be at an end, and all public confidence in them will be destroyed.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. S. WEST,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.
POST HEADQUARTERS, San Antonio, December 26, 1863
Captain W. A. ALSTON, Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: In accordance with your instructions, conveyed in your communication, No. 152 F, I have the honor to inclose copy of my morn-