War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0397 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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I sent out my teams on the 20th and brought in some bales that were lying around in Hamilton's yard. I had learned that cotton belonging to the C. S. A. and persons in the rebel army could be properly taken possession of by any officer of the U. S. Army for the benefit of the Government; and hearing there was a large pile of C. S. A. cotton south of my camp on Bayou Pierre which was being moved away, I sent out a company to discover it. They found where there had been a large pile of cotton, and traced part of it to a shed on Berry's plantation. Forty-three bales were piled up and 95 bales on the ground; the rest had been taken to Hamilton's yard, (76 bales). Of this 214 bales I would estimate that 100 had one head torn out; that 80 others had one new head lately put in. I have no positive evidence, but I believe it was all, or nearly all, the C. S. A cotton I was looking for.

General Ellet arrived the evening of the 20th. I reported what I had done. He ordered me to go ahead and finish hauling the next day. Said he had found 900 bales of C. S. A. cotton, on the Valentine place, and we would go down to Bruinsburg and get it out. A Mr. Hutchinson came and claimed the cotton on the Berry plantation, and I was ordered to get that too. I made some inquiries of the general concerning the time of starting down the river. He said the owners of this cotton were about selling it to Mr. Clemens, and if they did he would send down for the other boat and ten more teams. Said these men were wild in their prices; asked $200 per bale. I informed General Ellet, I thought it was C. S. A. cotton, and at any rate I did not believe Hutchinson owned it. He said it made no difference. Hutchinson did not pretended to own all he sold. Clemens came in, said he had bought the lot, and the general then told him to take the tug and go down for the other boat and the wagons. Clemens asked for an order for the tug to take him down to the other boat. The general replied; "The captain has instructions to obey your orders." Clemens then asked for an order for the boat to come up, and the general replied that he did not need any. We had pressed three ox-teams into service. We got, I believe, 120 bales from Hamilton's house, the ends of which had not been changed.

On the 22nd I was ordered out with the ten additional teams, called post teams; went to the Tinsley plantation, about 10 miles; got 81

bales. I heard of a lot of 40 bales, C. S. A., near, and went with one company to find it, but a detachment of Captain Sherman's company, Second Wisconsin Cavalry, were getting it across to the north side of Big Black; learned that they had found 45 bales of it.

On 23rd, sent out the whole train again about 8 miles to get cotton claimed by Hutchinson, 91 bales; a part of it, say 50 bales, was stolen from the C. S. A. or some individual as a part of one head of each bale was cut out. I informed General Ellet that the cotton had been tampered with; that I believed it to be C. S. A or abandoned cotton. The general said he would look into the matter, but he could not believe there was anything wrong. Captain Hoel, of the gun-boat Pittsburg, who was present, said he believed it was C. S. A; but early in the morning the cotton was all aboard the steamer Welcome bound for New Orleans, in all, I think, 516 bales. General Ellet told me he had $1,000 to pay to post quartermaster at Vicskburg for use of post teams. I think Clemens, of the Autocrat, bought all the cotton, but a Mr. Grant came forward and claimed some. Don't