similar acts of restitution in kind, but not in money. Thus, if a good, worthy Union man is robbed of his horse or of his cotton because he is our friend, I contend I have a perfect right to take another horse or equivalent quantity of cotton from a Confederate or accomplice of the robber or enemy and make immediate restitution. I have done so and will continue to do so, for that is war. Again, although the orders are that when practicable we shall aid the Treasury agents to collect abandoned or property, when I find it resorted to to swerve military movements, or to corrupt wagons-masters, steam-boat agents, and even officers, I must check it, for the reason that war is the main object of our army, and anything that tends to corrupt it does more public harm than is compensated by the thing obtained. I make these general points because I know some of your agents regard me as hostile to their office. "This not so; my orders are clear and specific that officers and soldiers must leave all matters of trade to your agents.
I don't want them to exercise a supervising or concurrent action. I want the army to be far above the contaminating influences of trade and again. let the merchant count his gain, but the soldier is lost if the ream of a cent beyond his pay.
We are getting along well and fast enough in this quarter. Peace and prosperity exist along well and fast enough in this quarter. Peace and prosperity exists wherever our foothold is secure and each point is becoming the center of an extending circle. I am willing to use commerce as a means of war to corrupt and demoralize an enemy; to make him dependent on us and to loosen his affections to the impoverished section to which he clings with a love which we should emulate. But our army keep hands off. No fees, no gain, no association with contaminating trade till war is over and peace supreme.
With great respect,
W. T. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Memphis, March 11, 1864.
Major General JAMES B. McPHERSON,
GENERAL: I arrived here yesterday. En route I met Captain Badeau, of General Grant's staff, who bore me two letters, copies of which I inclose herewith.*
I answered both fully by General Butterfield, who left in a swift packet last evening, and will find General Grant in Washington or where he may be.
I think General Grant is making a mistake in taking all the negro troops and Marine of distributing these troops along the west bank of the river will be less effective that the plan I had initiated of defending the Yazoo and Washita Rivers, which would cover the plantations from the rear. But this will manifest itself in time.
Please order General Hawkins and his brigade of blacks to reoccupy the bank of the Mississippi in such manner as he deems best to protest the plantations and replace his troops at the bluff, or leave it vacant, as you may judge best.
* See pp. 18 and 19