War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0576 W.FLA.,S.ALA.,S.MISS.,LA.,TEX.,N.MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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[Extract from my report of the report made by the commissioners appointed by Lieutenant-General Smith to investigate cotton frauds in Texas.]


January 14, 1864.

* * * The indorsement by this committee of the plan adopted by the Texas office in reducing this cotton question to a point of issue, as far as possible, alone with the producer and the Government, is referred to with pleasure. The speculator should be ignored in toto, for his interests and those of the Government are in antagonism, which can never be reconciled. The last part of the report is but a reiteration of the views long entertained by the writer and those associated with him in the management of the cotton interests of the Government, and so thoroughly am I impressed with its wisdom, as well as the necessity of making the suggestions a cardinal principle in governing the cotton operations of this department in so far as contracts are concerned, that I cannot resist the opportunity afforded by this occasion of calling the especial attention of the lieutenant-general to it, and taken the liberty of incorporating it herewith:

The views which we have expressed of contractors and speculators in cotton, as a class, will scarcely be indorsed by any one who is within the range of that influence exercised by concentrated capital, but we express the firm conviction that it would be better to apply the torch to every bale of cotton within the department than longer to permit the army of cotton speculators to operate within our borders. They can only be useful when compelled to bring supplies before exporting our staple.

My correspondence with the Texas cotton office is agreeable and very encouraging. Whilst it affords me pleasure to testify to the ability and business experience of the gentleman comprising the Texas board, I have to announce that the policy adopted of exempting from impressment the same quantity of cotton which they buy was not approved by me. In my opinion, the Government should control all the cotton, and permit it exported only for her own purposes. I see no reason why Texas is entitled to any more consideration than other Confederate States who furnished the Government with cotton. It is difficult to imagine any character or combination of circumstances that would have benefited the population of Texas more than the absolute results produced by this war.


Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Cotton Bureau.

Extracts from Indorsement Book.

[Petition of citizens to export cotton for the purpose of introducing machinery into the country.]


Shreveport, La., September 4, 1863.

Sufficient cotton to pay for machinery alluded to in this petition of J. H. and S. C. Dyer is exempted from impressment. The quantity required can be determined by the commanding officer at Brownsville, who will permit the cotton [to be] exported upon payment of the duty and a deposit of money, say, &100 per bale, to constitute a forfeit to the Government if machinery is not brought in equivalent in value to the cotton taken out.


Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Cotton Bureau.