War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0833 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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GENERAL ORDERS,

HDQRS. BRECKINRIDGE'S CORPS,

No. 59.

Dalton, Ga., December 15, 1863.

Major-General Hindman, the senior officer, having arrived,

Major-General Breckinridge relinquishes to him the command of the corps and returns to his division.

By order of Major-General Breckinridge;

ARCHER ANDERSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS HINDMAN'S CORPS,

No. 60.

Dalton, Ga., December 15, 1863.

The undersigned hereby assumes command of the corps composed of Breckinridge's, Stewart's, and Hindman's divisions.

T. C. HINDMAN,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS CHALMERS' CAVALRY, Oxford, Miss., December 15, 1863.

Colonel JACOB THOMPSON, Oxford;

Your not of this date has just been received. I see no impropriety in my answering your questions and will do so with pleasure. I have heard before of the feeling to which you allude and regret that it should have arisen.

I do not know from whence the authority comes for military commanders to burn cotton, or to confiscate wagons and teams engaged in conveying goods from the enemy, but such power has been exercised by all the department commanders. That these orders should be regarded by our people on the border as unnecessarily oppressive is not strange, but my action in the premises is governed by positive orders from General Johnston, which I shall endeavor to enforce as long as I remain in his command and the orders are continued.

You ask for my views of the present condition of the country and I will give them as briefly as possible, but before doing so I will state that my mind has undergone a complete change on two important points.

At the commencement of the war I believed that foreign nations were so dependent upon our cotton that they would interfere and force a peace in order to obtain it, and was therefore in favor of burning our cotton rather than permit it to be thrown into the market; I now believe that this was a most ruinous and erroneous policy. When I came to this district I thought any man was a traitor who would sell cotton to the enemy for any purpose; I now believe that our people on the border who have been compelled to trade with the enemy for subsistence are more patriotic and more liberal to our soldiers than those in the interior, and that they have been greatly misrepresented by those who did not understand their condition. The people of De Soto County, for instance, have been abandoned by our army and left open to the raids of the enemy since the fall of Memphis in the number of 1862. They were unlike the people of Northern Virginia, who had been accustomed, to a great extent, to live within themselves, and were dependent upon their cotton crops to buy everything, both the luxuries and necessaries of life. They

53 R R-VOL XXXI, PT III