without any benefit accruing to the Government excepting the miserable pittance he pays our people in Confederate States money in advance of taking their cotton.
It is but fair to state that a portion of the enormous profit referred to above is absorbed in expenses and bribes paid to Yankee officials and colaborers, which I am unable to estimate with any degree of accuracy.
I have seen, as you are doubtless aware, contracts paid off in high grades of cotton at 4 cents per pound, and in some instances at 6 cents. If the importer is allowed 100 per cent. profit on his goods, which is not uncommon, the cost of the cotton to him is only 2 cents or 3 cents per pound.
I would like to see something done which would prevent individuals from enriching themselves so rapidly and by which our Government will get the full benefit of any cotton which it may appear necessary to dispose of. I think the department commander will cheerfully acquiesce in any steps which you may be influenced to take by the facts as presented. The matter has been freely discussed with him, and whilst he would greatly desire to act for the protection of the Government, it appeared difficult to decide effectively in the face of existing laws. I beg permission to append an extract from a communication on this subject now on file at department headquarters.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. BROADWELL,
Lieutenant-Colonel, and Chief of Cotton Bureau.
[FEBRUARY 16, 1864.-For Major J. P. Johnson's report of inspections in Trans-Mississippi Department in 1863, see Series I, Vol. XXII, Part II, pp. 1128-1142.]